This year. Where did it go?!? August??? Summer almost winding down? Time is going by way too fast for me these days y’all.🤯
So I always have about 1,00000000 writing projects going on simultaneously it seems; both in my head and written down in some form~and I’ve gone back and forth on this one a lot and I wanted to try and reign it in and put the stamp of completion on it.👌🏼
One phrase I think of quite often, even though it’s considered a ‘Christmas’ phrase, is ‘Immanuel~God With Us.’ Another one is an ‘Easter’ phrase, ‘Good Friday.’ Kinda odd that I would be talking about either right now, but then again not really because both phrases encompass the entire Gospel, and should be discussed more than in just particular seasons.💛
So I actually want to focus on 𝗚𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗙𝗿𝗶𝗱𝗮𝘆. What comes to your mind when you hear that phrase? I know there are 𝕥𝕠𝕟𝕤 of thoughts and opinions on this topic, so I thought I’d share mine.💜As the day approaches each year, all the obligatory statements~”It’s Friday…but Sunday’s comin…” posts… and..”My favorite character dies but it’s ok he comes back to life…” “He’s risen…He’s risen, indeed..” and others like it. Sigh…they’re fine…and I have nothing against them…but I feel like something is missing. It’s always 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙖𝙢𝙚. Everything is 𝒂𝒍𝒘𝒂𝒚𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒂𝒎𝒆. Everyone repeats the 𝐞𝐱𝐚𝐜𝐭 𝐬𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐩𝐡𝐫𝐚𝐬𝐞𝐬. Someone else’s words…and it just gets…old. Yes, it was Friday…Sunday came… But where’s the 𝙣𝙚𝙬𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨, the 𝙡𝙞𝙛𝙚 in the message? Are you as ‘excited’ as you ‘should’ be when you say them? Do any of these repetitive phrases make us 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚 more? Am I missing something?🤔
Maybe I’m in the minority (I usually am🤷🏼♀️), but why 𝙙𝙤𝙚𝙨 it seem so old to me? Boring really. Because it’s the same story, told the same way. Nothing new. No different way of looking at 𝗮𝗻𝘆𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴. No revelations. Too many recitations of John 3:16 and really, how many different ways can you say it? Don’t get me wrong-it’s an important verse. But do you ever feel like it’s the 𝙤𝙣𝙡𝙮 verse in the entire Bible that anyone knows? Well that and Philippians 4:13.😆 Who else notices these things? C’mon guys there’s so much more to the story!! There’s 𝙖𝙡𝙬𝙖𝙮𝙨 more to the story. So much more.💖
Some might say, “well 𝒐𝒇 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒔𝒆 there’s life in those words!!😨😨😨The Bible is the 𝙨𝙖𝙢𝙚 yesterday, today, and forever!!”🤯Ok, ok. But is it? Maybe there’s 𝕝𝕚𝕗𝕖 in statements and reciting verses, but I for one, just don’t see it. I don’t see the evidence. I don’t see the Love. I see too much fake. Too much pretending. Too many masks. Some might say~”You don’t have to sugar coat the Bible for this generation, the word of God is enough!!!” (Can you see the finger shaking wildly and the face turning red?😂) Well, sugar or no sugar, something’s definitely missing.🤷🏼♀️
I think the question to ask ourselves is this: Does what we say, preach, memorize, and quote make us 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆 more? Or the opposite?Do we 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 better because of it? Does it make us treat each other with more 𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀? If not, well~I have my doubts as to its relevance and effectiveness. You know the verse~
“Noisy gong…clanging symbol.” (1 Corinthians 13) God knows I don’t want to be one of those…ick.🥺 I’ve known my share of noisy gongs and clanging symbols in the form of naysayers and complainers. We were ‘in the ministry’ for our entire marriage basically. Iykyk. Those are pretty descriptive phrases to describe exactly what I 𝙙𝙤𝙣’𝙩 want to be. So we can throw around the repetitive phrases and verses and quote John 3:16 and Philippians 4:13 til the cows come home…but..if we 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚…we are 𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴. If we’re not loving our fellow human beings better (I’m not 𝙟𝙪𝙨𝙩 talking about our 𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗯𝗲𝘀, our 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗳𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝘇𝗼𝗻𝗲) we’re wasting good air friends. I don’t want to be full of hot air. I want to 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚 𝙬𝙚𝙡𝙡. And God knows I try my 𝗱𝗮𝗺𝗻 𝗯𝗲𝘀𝘁.♥️
On my way home from running errands for Easter several months ago, I was listening to K-Love. I like a bunch of different types of music but I guess out of habit I usually listen to K-Love.🤷🏼♀️I was raised on Christian music and I guess it’s just in my blood.🤪Even though they play the exact same 6 songs 𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙖𝙜𝙖𝙞𝙣.🥴Lol. That’s not even part of my story. So I got in the car after leaving Target and there was a guy talking, giving some type of Easter message. Max Lucado.
Now, I looked up to a lot of Christian mentors growing up, but he just wasn’t one of them. I have 𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 against the man. I think he’s a respectable role model. An absolute pillar of the Christian faith. But he literally bored me to tears, even when I believed wholeheartedly in the overall message he was presenting …but it was just soooooooo……predictable. The exact same, at least to me. I know he’s reached a lot of people with his simplistic message. That night was no different. I found his Easter message so incredibly sllloooowwww but I kept listening to it and I’m not even sure why. Maybe because what he was saying wasn’t even accurate..and I was just awestruck but not in a good way. His blatantly obvious misinterpretation of a verse jumped out at me. I know, I know~it’s down right 𝒃𝒍𝒂𝒔𝒑𝒉𝒆𝒎𝒐𝒖𝒔 to think that 𝙄 might know and understand something that Max Lucado 𝙙𝙤𝙚𝙨𝙣’𝙩 get~and he’s been to 𝙨𝙚𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙧𝙮 for crying out loud!😱😱😱What the what? For real, he misinterpreted a verse to such extremes, I was just shaking my head driving down the road. 🚘
If Max is one of your favorites~completely fine. Like I said, he’s a great person, and he’s not offended by my preference of other speakers/teachers. He’s got plenty of followers!🤩
I’d honestly have to gather my thoughts more on the verse he misinterpreted to explain it in full~because it was so, so off. It blows my mind to think that a person like him (and so many others), who have dedicated their very 𝒍𝒊𝒇𝒆 to preaching God’s ‘truth,’ etc~and then get it so wrong!!🤯 He mentioned the verse John 14:9…”If you’ve seen the Father, you’ve seen me.” That verse is so vitally important, a light bulb moment actually~and he butchered it so very badly….again, shaking my head.🤦🏼♀️
A little of what this verse means…anytime we see Jesus, when we observe him, experience him..everything about him…we’re looking into the face of God. They are one. When we see Jesus, we’ve seen God, because Jesus is the 𝗶𝗺𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗚𝗼𝗱. (Colossians 1:15) His exact replica.♥️Immanuel=God 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 us. There isn’t anything that Jesus thinks, does, or says, that’s separate from his Father~aka~God. “If you’ve seen me, Jesus said~you’ve seen the Father.” Jesus was telling everyone that from that point on, they knew since they’d seen Jesus, they’d also seen the Father. God.♥️ (John 5:19, 30).
He went on with an explanation that almost made me 𝙇𝙊𝙇 because I didn’t know how else to react. He said something like~”Jesus was like, when you see 𝙢𝙚, you see God, and because of me, you get a “pass,” you’re covered!”🤯🧐 or something like that! What the heck does that even mean? Yet it’s coming from a person who has scores and scores of followers that take his word at 100% accuracy and wouldn’t dare question such a godly man. That’s part of the whole damn problem though. At some point we’ve got to stop automatically taking someone else’s word for it and begin thinking critically for ourselves.
Again, I really and truly don’t have a problem with 𝙝𝙞𝙢. His message just doesn’t reach 𝙢𝙚. I don’t understand how he and so many others can regurgitate the same exact message (and verses) for so many years and not crave something more.😐Something deeper.
I also wish more Christians could see the innumerable discrepancies within their religion. Christianity, as a religion, is 𝙛𝙪𝙡𝙡 of holes. Such as:👇🏼
Talking about how your sin debt is canceled, and how God remembers your sin 𝙣𝙤 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚, that he removes your transgressions as far as the East is from the West, and how God keeps no record of wrong. Those things are all 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗲. But then there’s the condemning posts…about sports, activities, travel ball, and all the things that ‘take the place’ of church, better get your kids in church or else~blah blah blah, because your kids are going to 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗯𝗲𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗝𝗲𝘀𝘂𝘀 one day. Really? What exactly is Jesus going to ask your kids? Especially if he’s already cancelled their sin debt? And keeps no record of their wrongs? Is he going to have a naughty and nice list like Santa??Does anyone hear the discrepancies? Bogus bologna if you ask me.🤯
It’s kinda like flipping open the Bible and reading one thing…then turning a few pages over and reading the exact opposite. At some point friends the lightbulb 𝗵𝗮𝘀 to go off and we need to realize that we’re walking contradictions. We are human double standards. We talk outta like 5 sides of our mouth. I’m here to tell you that any given person can pick 𝙖𝙣𝙮 hot topic~𝙖𝙣𝙮 controversial one~and find 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 in the Bible that supports it, and also 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 in the Bible that is against it. Let’s see and recognize the Bible for what it is please.
Another Christian radio discussion I heard once was when they were asking opinions of those who had grown children who had come to different conclusions about God, religion, etc, that differed from how they grew up. The conversation seemed very open and people were sharing non-condemning ways in which they would love and support their children, regardless of their opinions, etc. That’s good. That makes 𝙨𝙚𝙣𝙨𝙚. But then we turn around and talk about a 𝙂𝙤𝙤𝙙 𝙁𝙖𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 (𝗚𝗼𝗱) who wouldn’t even do the same as a good 𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘩𝘭𝘺 father but instead will throw his kids into a lake of fire if their thoughts about him don’t line up with his?! I mean, that sounds more like something 𝙬𝙚’𝙙 do, not a 𝙜𝙤𝙤𝙙 𝙂𝙤𝙙…BS. BS. B.S. I mean….𝙃𝙀𝙇𝙇𝙊?!?🤦🏼♀️Sometimes it seems like we’ve formed God in 𝙤𝙪𝙧 own image instead of the other way around.🥺
So maybe the reason why I don’t see much life in the Easter message or anything similar anymore is because I’ve heard the exact same thing, presented the exact same way, for 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙨. Decades. And things aren’t really any better…are they? I always kept trying to see the life in it. I kept trying to 𝙢𝙖𝙠𝙚 myself feel more grateful for what Jesus did on the cross. I kept coming back to “God’s only son…” what does that even mean? And, why don’t I feel more compassion and gratefulness because of what Jesus did for 𝙢𝙚? And then the guilt sets in. What’s 𝙬𝙧𝙤𝙣𝙜 with me??
Nothing. Nothing is wrong with me or with any other deep thinker out there who 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗲 before we dive blindly headfirst into a belief system that operates more on passed down stories, theories, and ideologies than facts.💯 Oh-and 𝗙𝗘𝗔𝗥. Don’t forget 𝙁𝙀𝘼𝙍. The entire religion of Christianity is built on 𝗳𝗲𝗮𝗿. But what about Timothy 1:7, that clearly states that 𝗳𝗲𝗮𝗿 isn’t even a part of who God is???🧐
A quick look back at 𝘎𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘍𝘳𝘪𝘥𝘢𝘺, if you want to stick with me.♥️It’s a different kind of 𝘎𝘰𝘰𝘥 than 𝙄 grew up thinking, that’s for sure. Maybe it’s different than what you’ve always thought too. Here is some 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙡 ⓖⓞⓞⓓ ⓝⓔⓦⓢ!!!👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼
God 𝙙𝙞𝙙 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙨𝙖𝙠𝙚 Jesus on the cross!🙌🏼
God 𝙙𝙞𝙙 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙡𝙤𝙤𝙠 𝙖𝙬𝙖𝙮 from Jesus!🙌🏼
Jesus was 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙨𝙚𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙 from God!🙌🏼
So what I 𝙪𝙨𝙚𝙙 to think was “Good” news, on 𝙂𝙤𝙤𝙙 𝙁𝙧𝙞𝙙𝙖𝙮,🤔 doesn’t really sound good anymore!👇🏽🤯
𝙈𝙮𝙩𝙝👉🏼God sacrificed his only son, because he loved mankind more. 🤔Has 𝒂𝒏𝒚𝒐𝒏𝒆 but me questioned this absurdity?
𝙏𝙧𝙪𝙩𝙝👉🏼LOVE doesn’t abandon.♥️
𝙈𝙮𝙩𝙝👉🏼God turned his face from his son because he couldn’t look at him, because he couldn’t look upon sin. 😢
𝙏𝙧𝙪𝙩𝙝👉🏼LOVE doesn’t reject his own, period.♥️
𝙈𝙮𝙩𝙝👉🏼God was pouring out his wrath on Jesus, because he demanded a sacrifice. 🥺
𝙏𝙧𝙪𝙩𝙝👉🏼LOVE doesn’t demand death to appease anger.♥️
That’s 𝙣𝙤𝙩 the Good News.
Maybe the reason it doesn’t make sense is because that’s not how it really happened.
Back to the 𝙂𝙤𝙤𝙙 𝙉𝙚𝙬𝙨:👇🏽
“God was IN CHRIST, (not separated from him), reconciling the entire world to Himself.”
2 Corinthians 5:17-19
LOVE didn’t abandon, reject, or forsake. That makes so much more sense to me. ♥️
That’s really all it comes down to. God did not abandon, reject, look away, or sacrifice his son. Why? Scripture~𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗺𝗲~tells us that God was IN CHRIST~on the cross~reconciling ALL of mankind to himself.
👉🏽2 Corinthians 5:17-19👈🏽
You cannot be IN a person and separate from a person at the same time. Especially if you are the Trinity and have been indivisible since the beginning of time.☀️
Jesus WAS God as a person, (Emmanuel~God WITH us), displaying the vastness of His love for mankind, (because we had gotten our interpretation of God SO wrong), so much so that He took all of our darkness upon himself, and conquered it for us once and for all.
Scripture also tells us that we died WITH him~ALL of mankind, and we’re therefore 𝚁𝙰𝙸𝚂𝙴𝙳 to LIFE WITH Him. That is inclusion. Straight from scripture. 👉🏽Romans 6:6-8.🤍
Now THAT is a 𝙂𝙤𝙤𝙙 Friday. That is the 𝗚𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗡𝗲𝘄𝘀. That is the 𝗚𝗼𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗹. ♥️
God is Love and 𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 else. Don’t attach a laundry list of sketchy characteristics to God that are 𝙣𝙤𝙩 Him.