Psalm 22

All my life, I have been told that the word Gospel translates “good news”, when a lot of what I was taught afterwards was anything but good news.  I am having my world rocked nowadays and I am honestly loving it.  I am blissfully and truly seeing the Gospel as scandalously, amazingly too good but true, news.  I feel a very different but remarkable sense of freedom as I now read the Bible through this new lens of God truly being good.  Even the tough parts, I am able to see differently and what I don’t understand, I ask Abba to help me with that, and I believe He will.

I am reading one of my required books for seminary called Cosmos Reborn by John Crowder. It is amazing.  I had to stop reading it to write this post because I am so excited about what I am learning.  Bare with me as I share my excitement and tell you things you may already know.  I have actually gone back and forth, tempering my feelings about my theological journey as I am now seeing things in ways that are at times in opposition with the beliefs of my loved ones.  It is important to me to keep connections strong, but as an old song that comes to mind implies, I can’t keep it all to myself! 🙂

One thing among so much that I see differently, is the idea that God turned His back on Jesus while he was on the cross because of what Jesus said in Matthew 27:46 (My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”)  I was taught that it was at this point that God, who cannot even look upon sin, turned His back on His son Jesus who became sin for us.  A side note from this idea- if we are so awful and filled with sin, such that God can’t look at us, how is it that we come to Him at all? How would we be able to even face Him enough to accept Jesus’ sacrifice if He couldn’t look upon us? How could we even survive without His constant gaze upon us?  So many thoughts and questions come to mind… Ok, back to the topic at hand.

Not only do I now believe that Jesus, in that moment was identifying with what we feel and experience when we sin, (I mean really, who sins and wants to run straight to God without feeling crazy?) but it was so much more than just his identifying with us in that moment.  Jesus, in that moment was making a big statement, a statement that every Messianic person watching him hang on the cross understood clearly in that moment.

It is my understanding that during that time, they often sang the Psalms of David in synagogue.  Not too many years back, I heard and was surprised to learn that King David is counted among the prophets of the Old Testament. I totally see why, now.

If anyone was to recite the start of the lyrics of a popular song, you’d likely pick up on it and end up singing it too.  That happens often. That’s what Jesus did.  He recited the start of a Psalm they all likely knew, and it very likely blew some minds as he did, because the Psalm was about him and described very accurately (and probably eerily) what he was experiencing right there in that moment, on the cross.

Read Psalm 22  here. I can only imagine how floored they were in that moment of realization.  The song mentioned his thirst, his dislocated bones, his blood poured out, how he didn’t even look like a man anymore.  It mentioned the mocking, the gambling of his clothes and then, in verse 24, it says the Father did not look away, but was there all the time! Wow!!!  Can you imagine?  It reminds me of how Jesus went to synagogue, stood before them and quoted Isaiah 61:1 and then said, “This Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing today.” Boom!!! (Mic drop) He was essentially and effectively doing that again, on the cross!!! Amazing!

It was always said that the Gospel was offensive.  I see this from a different perspective now too.  It is most certainly offensive, but not quite in the way that I first thought of it.  Think about it, who in the Bible seemed to stay mad  and offended at Jesus? The religious folk.  It was the Pharisee’s who were often angered because Jesus chose to hang out with tax collectors and prostitutes. Forgive my silliness, but the reality is, them hoes loved Jesus. They loved him so much, and he them, that they didn’t want to whore no more. It was the ones who looked down on others that were offended.  The very ones who just knew they were right and everyone else was wrong and should follow them.  They felt Jesus should act like and hang with them.  He should have been the first to sock that prostitute in the head with a rock when she was caught in the act of adultery. How dare Jesus let her go?  They were the ones who were mad, offended and wanted to kill him. The Good News irked their religious nerves. Jesus was there for them too but they didn’t believe it. They were too entrenched in law to see Love.

This all just blows my mind and screams, “Good News”! I love it!!!  The Gospel is changing me in the very best way.  I look forward to seeing my Abba more and more clearly and correctly.  Jesus embodied the Father. He is good.  That, my friends, is the Gospel.

His Word Is True & He Is Good

While chatting with a group of friends, a thought occurred to me.  We have a tough time trusting God oftentimes because of the relationships we have and have had with authority figures.  Our mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, teachers, pastors, etc, haven’t always done a good job of leading us in a manner that is Christ like, so we learn to be mistrustful.  Then, we transfer the transgressions of others onto God and become believers who don’t always quite believe God.  That’s sad.

One prayer that I recall praying early on, was that God would make Himself more real to me than any human being in front of me.  Where the Word says, “Let God’s Word be true and every man a liar.”, I want that to truly be the case for me, because God’s Word is most certainly The Truth.

My prayer for you this week is the same.  I pray that God is more real to you than any human or circumstance you face.  I pray that you learn to laugh in the face of adversity, knowing that there are far more for you than could ever be against you.  I pray that you, like God, have the ability to laugh heartily at your enemies, knowing that God knew each situation you’d face and provide for you in full, for that situation.  Our God is the most trustworthy Person ever.  My prayer is that we all sincerely know that, not just in our heads, but in our hearts in an experiential way.

Something else happened, which actually prompted me to write this blog post. From time to time, I gather my children and we practice sitting in God’s presence together.  We each hear from Him and share what we’ve heard, and sometimes, we end up prophesying over each other.  It’s nice.  I want to do my best to help foster an intimate relationship with the Lord for each of them.  I often tell them, they can’t live off of my faith.  They need their own relationship with Him.  To not have one, is to cheat oneself immeasurably.  To fool oneself into thinking, “I know God” when there really is no intimacy, is also doing oneself a colossal disservice to say the least.

This time, we each asked the Lord to either share what He wanted or each could ask about something specific.  When we shared, everyone got something really nice. Two girls got words about their future, regarding ambitions and/or goals they have.  The Lord gave one girl ideas on how to do what she is interested in, while the other, He totally had her think in another direction.  This made for a great discussion on how we can do things simply because it is what is expected of us, ie. graduate high school, you go to college.  Is this something that believers stop and ask God about?  Is that the path God truly has for a high school graduate?  Do many even bother to ask His thoughts? How does it feel to go against what others think you should be doing and follow God’s leading? We had a very good discussion about this.

Another girl got one word, an odd word, “cheesesticks”, lol.  We laughed and talked about how silly she is and how she is coming into “her thing” with God and how He speaks to her based on her personality.  We even delved into the interpretation and it was really good. (Too much to type here)

I got two words to start.  “Get Ready.”  Initially, I was smiling but when I heard those words, my smile faded.  I could also hear T. D. Jakes saying, “Get Ready, get ready, get ready!!” As I looked scared, the Lord began to speak to me saying, “Lighten up.  Stop thinking everything is so grave and negative.  I am your friend.  Real friends don’t burden friends with things they can’t handle.” I began to hear the song, “I am a friend of God” and just smiled.

I realize that religion has taught me that Gaawd- (I wish you could hear me say that) is super serious, mean and ready to strike when we mess up.  He might let all kinds of crazy things happen to you, He may even cause them, and you just have to deal.  Also, He’ll want you to go somewhere and/or do some thing that is not only of no interest to you, but something you actually dread. This is not true.  God is good, kind, loving, thoughtful, full of mercy and wisdom.  He calls us friend and loves us immensely.  My prayer is that we are able to put to rest all ill conceived notions and truly know Him.  He is good.

God’s Wrath?

When people start saying things about having been on the receiving end of God’s wrath, the silly part of me wants to look deep into their eyes and whisper, “Jesus? Is that you?” Now, I readily admit, the more I learn, the more I realize I have to learn but this talk of God sending His wrath on select people, nations, groups, etc, is confusing and very religious sounding.  I say this because I know I have read that God poured out His wrath, once and for all, on Jesus.  He is the one who took all of God’s wrath because we couldn’t.  He is the one who took care of the sin/separation problem, one time, for good.  Our part is to accept what He did for us- easy peasy lemon squeezy.  Even John the Baptist said in John 1:1 “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  And Jesus Himself, just before dying, said, “It is finished.” Did He lie?  Was there a measure of wrath left over because God said, “Nah, you’re gonna have to pay for some part of this!”?

Why is it that some suppose God is still angry and doling out bouts of wrath here and there?  Why would He do that if He already took care of the sin problem and all we have to do is accept it and repent for all the relational sin we find ourselves in?  Is it just me, or would this not make Him mentally unstable?  To one moment, say, “Ok, your sin is causing separation between us and you can’t do anything to fix this.  I want a relationship with you that is unhindered by your sin, so I will do this for you and fix it once and for all, just accept what I have freely given you and you’re in.”, then, you do something wrong and He becomes explosively angry and pours out a measure of wrath on you to teach you a lesson.  Does this not sound off to anyone else?  He either poured out His wrath, once and for all on Jesus, or, He left some back, tucked away in some cauldron, only to pour it out as needed when we jack things up.  Which is it?  Now, of course there is going to be judgement on the last day but if you’re reading this, I doubt that moment is upon you right now.  Plus, that is a whole other subject that people have misconstrued…

I’m not saying that there aren’t consequences to sin. Go on, go and try to punch your brother in the face and a consequence could very well be that he knocks your lights out.  Go and rob a bank, and you might find some nice folk rushing at you with guns, eager to give you an ill-fitting pair of silver bracelets with free room and board for several years.

Of course, we get it wrong sometimes, but God isn’t sitting on His throne far away, just waiting for us to mess up so He can point the finger and punish us.  So many forget that we have a very real enemy who seeks to kill, steal and destroy and he is not too shabby at his job.

Sometimes we invite things on ourselves by our words and actions and thus, invite the enemy into our midst to have legal right to wreak havoc on and in our lives.  Sometimes, he just comes in illegally but he is there and he’s not sleeping on the job of ‘kill, steal and destroy’.

God can and will use the trials that we go through for His glory but to say He is causing them because He is still angry about something, that’s just not right.  When I think of my miscarriages, my infant nephew dying, my friends 2-year-old son being mowed down by an SUV in a parking lot by a woman eager for a particular parking space and dying, the very last thing I can imagine is that the God I am in relationship with, would do this to teach any of us a lesson.  Who would want to run to a God like that?  That’s not loving at all.  We have an enemy, guys, but glory to God, we have a God who is so much bigger and stronger than our enemy could ever be and, our enemy has already been defeated! We have but to just spend time getting to know Him, growing deeper and deeper in intimacy with Him.  There’s so much to know about Him, so much to love.  He really is good.