Renovation By Love


20161004_150844 (2)When you say yes to God you are being made into God’s image. Print that on your resume!  In the eyes of God you are worth dying for. Would you let this truth define the way you see yourself? Would you let this truth define the way you see other people? Every person you see was created by God to bear his image and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. This is God’s plan. This is God’s promise. And he will fulfill it! Because God’s promises are unbreakable our hope is unshakable!

-Max Lucado/Unshakeable Hope

I was reading Genesis 4 a few months ago, and a lesson I had never seen nor heard preached continues to return to me like a great friend with whom I am having coffee. It’s the kind of friend with whom I do life, laugh and talk about realities.

I just met with a good childood friend on a recent trip. We not only laughed, but we both talked realities, some hard. And yet, we both left lightened for having included Christ in our conversation.

In that spirit, here is the text that has returned to encourage me…

Adam was intimate with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. She said, “I have had a male child with the Lord ’s help.” Then she also gave birth to his brother Abel…

Adam was intimate with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, for she said, “God has given me another child in place of Abel… and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to call on the name of Yahweh.
-Genesis 4:1‭-‬2a, 25-26 HCSB

God mentions names because they matter to His Story. For my point’s sake, I am removing the usual story we focus on in this chapter.

Instead, I am focusing on the brackets…those steadying objects which keep books or thoughts together. They may seem less important, but are the most important, for the objects in between would have no form, no context.

When I read this text with fresh eyes lately, I notice Adam and Eve mentioned in a positive light; carrying out the mandate to be fruitful, multiply, fill the Earth and subdue it. Eve praises God while naming her sons, and then the crescendo, a tiny, but the most powerful and significant phrase…

At that time people began to call on the name of Yahweh.

The first woman, created by God through miraculous love out of the body of Adam; the two who are also known as the first couple to infest humanity with the plight of sin, were also in the process of being redeemed in the fourth chapter of The Book of Books.

God does not contradict Himself, but as a human, I must guard against focusing against a repetitive doctrine that excludes details that appear along life’s trail that grow me more in love, and set me more free to love others, including my human family in Biblico. This is my greatest guard against dogma.

Is it possible that though Adam an Eve failed terribly, that they were also the first ministers proclaiming the name of God to their offspring that they might begin that trip towards a more perfect Eden through God’s promise to bruise the serpent’s head?

Adam and Eve said Yes to God after they said no. Is that not all our stories? Do they and other failures not deserve a shot at redemption just as we have?

What is known about the physical brain and the tie to the human body today is amazing, which is why all person’s must be treated with dignity, for even so there are therapies able to correct the once thought uncorrectable, including cooperative hardened criminal brains and unreverseable conditions, that one’s quality of life and more peace may increase, according to Dr. Daniel Amen of the world famous Amen Clinics.

“Healing brains can lead to healing in relationships.” -Dr. Daniel Amen

I know this is true, I’ve been there, and Dr. Amen’s Clinics have already helped me substantially. I did a lot of work on my own before going, spiritually, physically, emotionally, psychologically and socially, which gave me a healthier brain before testing. The results were fascinating and made me praise God more!

My answers included supplements and other simple therapies, for my brain is overall healthy and getting healthier, thank you God.

I am in a few transitions, but one of my goals is to be in a place to help others better through my writing and sharing health information.

No one but God knows a person’s real heart, and the true changes it makes to be inspired by God and formed by the Messiah.

Though it can be deceitful above all else, the heart is the Home the Holy Spirit of God chooses to reside today when confessing Him and asking humanity’s most consistent Ally in.

God perpetually knocks at every soul’s heart, which is why we are all very near Him. Dr. Caroline Leaf, mentioned in past posts, a neurologist, along with other neurologists, mentions over and over the finding that our brains are wired for love…that was God’s plan from the start, and that subduing the earth is multilayered including removing all forms of toxicity to improve all human function.

Imagine Adam and Eve takimg responsability for their actions, acrively workimg on removing the toxicity in their brains and minds, and replacing it with the beauties of Eden. Who wouldn’t want to tell others about this beautiful place and it’s God?

Imagine them continuing to birth God’s plan by having children. No telling the stories they told about that perfect world they had come from. It must have been hopeful, mind changing and a player in God’s plan of redeeming the family of man into God’s beautiful Kingdom here on Earth.

Forgetting sin means that we may recall the sin, but the sin does not have us. We can rewire our brains and minds for good and for God by retelling a bad story redemptively for ours and others sake.

That person who was difficult in a season or generation or two may end up being our best ally later in life. If we were the difficult one, we can change and reap a new season of hope with a new mind and brain. Current science is showing God’s redemptive Love everyday.

Yahweh is the Hebrew word for God, a word too sacred to speak and write, for in it contains all of His Attributes, the greatest of these is Love, the way we were all wired to give and accept from others for all are His image bearers.

Amazing!

The Witness of the Innocent


20161004_150844 (2)Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.

Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.
-Proverbs 31:8-9

There are places of safety for mothers in crisis and their unborn all over the world. The healthy centers have the mission of being Jesus to the unborn and their parents, as well as lovingly changing the minds of abortion centers with facts over emotion.

Their witness is strong, for saving both mother and child is the highest work of religion.

As I read James 1:27, I see a deeper meaning that I didn’t see until I volunteered at our local crisis pregnancy center.

baby-1866621__340Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. –James 1:27

Strong’s defines orphans as bereft (of a father, of parents); of those bereft of a teacher, guide, guardian; orphaned. And defines widows as feminine of a presumed derivative apparently from … the idea of deficiency; a widow (as lacking a husband), literally or figuratively:—widow.

Who is more orphaned than the unborn without future parents, or with mother – sometimes father – alone; mostly coming from difficult sectors, whether personally or socially?

baby-20339__340Christ is most exalted when those who cannot speak for themselves – whether the born or unborn orphaned, literal and figurative widow – are served and shown the Love of Jesus, first through service, then the healing of Christ’s Love, and then a presentation of the Good News for a New Life in Christ.

It has been a privilege for me to volunteer as I can at our local crisis center. All who come in are in crisis, even if married, for sometimes the unexpected child pushes a family into a lower economic class and family support may be limited. Who can fill in the gaps better than Jesus through the hands and feet of those who serve these precious souls?

baby-22194__340It is I who leave more humbled and filled after spending a shift volunteering with some of the kindest Christian family I have ever known. Prior to adopting our own Monika, I worked at this same center and gleaned so much courage by watching women who had less than myself and John chose to raise their children in the Lord, and be filled with His Joy as they grow in Him through ongoing classes.

I also am influenced by my peers who counsel and the admins who make the place run under the Godly leadership of the Executive Director and Center Director. Their stories of personal transformation have made them the leaders that brought our local center into the 21st Century with free well woman exams and free ultrasounds, among so many medical and personal services.

All centers are run on donations from donors who want their funds to go before them to help God’s Kingdom come to earth.

indexRecently Eric Metaxas, New York Times bestselling author, spoke at our index2fund raising Gala. His wrote Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery. He articulated very well how abortion is the new slavery that needs exposing with facts and grace, for it took William Wilberforce 24 years to end slavery in England. So with facts and the hands and feet of Jesus, both child and parents can be spared and transformed for good.

For anyone reading who may be post-abortive – including men – please hear my heart and the hearts of a magnificent God Who loves you. There is redemption and forgiveness, no judgement. The Lord knows your story and is here to heal you permanently. There are many post-abortive programs that can help you become your best self and know how to tell your story so others might live. And for those of us who know souls who have survived this trauma, the best they can receive from us is unconditional love, and for us to listen and bear witness to their stories of redemption.

John 3:16 begins…For God so loved the worldThat means all of us!

Is God not an amazing God to not only save the Esters, but the Rahabs of this world for His purposes? He not only cares about the Josephs, but the Davids, and carves a place in history for them.

We are part of His Story as He writes His Story on our hearts. Ours is to step into our role every day, glorifying God in all we do, whether walking straightly, or getting up from another fall. Our response to failure by turning our eyes to the Lord – even if it takes a season – is all the Lord seeks from each of us.

May we all see the God-design in every human being, and know we too are God-Image-Bearers serving those who need Him most.

Thank you Jesus, for the opportunities today to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Amazing!

My Bible Isn’t About Religion


GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours

gary portraitReligion drains me. I am tired of religion. I wish it would go away.

We humans tend to create religion. We build systems of belief and interpretation based on our own opinions or acceptance of views from a previous generation.

Before I know what has happened I codify my beliefs and assume they are precisely what Jesus thinks.

religion8Then I begin to judge others relationship validity with the Holy based on whether or not they observe my belief system.

Religion tends to serve the movement rather than the Master. When I’m concerned with my religion I seek laws instead of Jesus’ heart. I can be committed to religion yet find myself far from the heart of Jesus. After a time, my religion can actually oppose Jesus’ values.

Pardon me for my momentary audacity, but may I say what I think Jesus would say should He address our churches?

religion15“Come on people, please wake up and stop the time and effort spent to build and protect your religion.”

I suspect the furthest thought from Jesus mind as he set out on his mission was to start a religion. He came to restore relationship between God and humanity.

As I read my Bible I see Jesus ready to challenge the builders of religion. His confrontation was always provoked by their allegiance to self-imposed rules rather than alignment with the heart of God.

Far more times than I like to admit I find myself among the crowd of the religious builders.

religion10One of the most obvious ways is when I find myself reading my Bible to find support for an idea that I have predetermined to be true or so want to be true.

Such behavior on my part lays another brick in the structure of religion.
To steer clear of participation as a religion builder I think of a few guidelines I want to follow:

1. I want to learn to read my Bible with one eye centered on religion19the page and my other eye focused on Jesus. At the heart of my Bible is the story of what Creator God has done and is doing through Jesus. Jesus is my link to the Holy. Everything in my Bible is to be interpreted through Jesus who mirrored Father God.

2. To avoid transformation into a religion builder I want to remember that my Bible is written for my own transformation and growth. Its purpose is not to support political policies or religious darts hurled at others.

3. I draw myself into the practice of religion when I start to seek Biblical support for a valued tradition or for something that I would like to see changed. The way I read my Bible can transform my traditions into my gospel, rather than the gospel of good news brought by Jesus.

religion174. I want to take care not to read my Bible to take proof texts and change them from their given context to justify my tribal practice.

5. When I read my Bible with the sole intent to make my views right and your interpretations wrong I act as a contractor of Religion.

What if I attempt to consistently read my Bible with the humility of a listener and the anticipation of a learner? Wouldn’t that act alone keep me from religious construction? Wouldn’t that act alone take the focus from me and place it on the Master Builder where it belongs?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: My Bible Is Not About Religion

Gary@GodReflection.org      http://www.GodReflection.org     http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

Faith Calls For Hard Choices


GodReflection: Faith Certainties

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

garyguarujaFor several posts, I’ve attempted to apply flesh and blood to the deceased bones of the players in the roll call of Hebrews eleven. I’ve attempted to sense a hint of flesh and blood of the faithful in hopes that some of their God-trust might rub off on me.

Like Abraham and Moses, the faithful placed their future in God’s trustworthy hands. In every case they were called upon by Almighty God to make hard choices.

From a human point of view my faith walk stand in contrast to its beginning. God invites all to join a journey under the umbrella of His grace. The invitation comes from God Himself. It is only in my acceptance that I have the privilege of discovery along the path of faith.

confident2It cost nothing from me to be placed on the path. The gift to belong was free of charge.

However, the costs along my trail are incalculable as I deal with its ups and downs, its slippery spots, and its crooks and turns over a lifetime.

I cannot help but reflect upon God’s promise of a new heart. He so wanted mankind to love and trust Him. Instead He encountered hard hearts of denial, disobedience and rejections.

With His gift of Son Jesus as a blood sacrifice and the resurrection to eternal life came the gift of a new heart. Could it be that the new heart is what keeps me on the trail?

Is the new heart that beats in my chest supplied by the Spirit to provide me with power tochoices8 make hard choices?

Just as he reminds disciples of every age throughout history, Jesus taught that the first difficult decision would be to deny self and be ready to do so time and again as a follower: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me (Matthew 16:24) and Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:38).

It is in the context of the symbol of death and forgiveness that Jesus asks me to walk. The apostle Peter expresses it eloquently when he writes to the church “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).choices6 

I think of Matthews detail of the death scene as it moved toward the designated place of crucifixion. As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross (Matthew 27:32).

Simon serves as a symbol of the faith-walk. I must take my turn on the pages of history “to carry the cross” of King Jesus.

So, the players of Hebrews chapter eleven strive to understand and they sacrifice to Almighty God. They go, they build, they live, they bless and they worship. Unafraid, they made hard choices, they marched and they waited.

And God rewarded their hard choice with His inclusion as worthy, His pleasure and His promise of an eternal future that will be noticeable absence of hard choices.

May God’s new heart continue to beat in you and in me with the knowledge—faith—that it will sustain us in the face of all hard choices yet to be encountered. 

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on Faith Calls for Hard Choices

Gary@Godreflection.org     www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Learned Wrong


aboutPerhaps they taught right and I just learned wrong.

Sunday school was an undercover clandestine movement led by churchwomen.

I do remember the colorful flannel graph—the foundation to all digital graphics—telling the stories from Old Testament Scripture.

flannelgraph

The churchmen never set foot inside the classes so they had not a clue as to the error taught to children.  The great women of the church saw Old Testament Scripture as important.

Once in the Sanctuary, truth rang from pulpit.

I could swear—not literally—I learned from the pulpit that God nailed the Old Testament Scripture to the cross so we weren’t to follow its teaching.

We could use a principle found in a battle story, and it was OK to receive encouragement from the Psalms as long as we didn’t sing them in the same manner of the original author.

To confirm my belief, bookstores sold small New Testaments that included a copy of the Psalms.

What more would a New Testament Christian need?

The Old Testament Scripture had nothing to do with my deliverance. After all, God had Old Testament Scripture only recorded for “our admonition”—whatever that meant—and not for my salvation.

broken sword 1Much later in life, I learned I was attempting to navigate life with half a sword.

OK, this is my current understanding. All Scripture is inspired of God.

The only portion of the entire Scripture that was nailed to the cross—or perhaps better understood as fulfilled by the cross—was the Mosaic Law.

Jesus was the fulfillment of the sacrificial system. He became the culminating sacrifice sent by God to atone for sin. 

Restoration of what was lost in Eden is now possible. Any person who wants to live anew in the presence of God can get there through Jesus.

I find in order to know God and grow in His likeness I need to dwell in the entirety of Scripture.

Jesus set the example for me by living in fellowship with God through His consistent interface with Old Testament Scripture. He quoted from it often. He used Old Testament Scripture to stand firm against Satan.

Shouldn’t I too face Satan from the strength of the entirety of Scripture?Bible and Cross

What does all of the above have to do with unity in the church?

Sure church is simple as joining with other sinners to praise God and honor Jesus for the undeserved grace I receive.

It is also complex in my attempt to worship the God described from Genesis to Revelation as a God beyond description.

Shouldn’t we give each other a little grace in attempting the unfathomable while we are trying to learn it right?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – Reflecting on Cross Church.

Gary@GodReflection.org