christical

Inspired by Jesus. From a Christian. For the Christian and anyone else who bothers to listen.

The Bible Series: Smooth Jesus April 12, 2013

Filed under: Christian Culture — christical @ 5:03 pm

The Bible series recently concluded on the History Channel. Social media has hotly discussed the show since its debut. The viewers have been pleasantly surprised to learn quite a bit about the nature of the Bible:

  • Angels aren’t chubby babies, nor are they “hot” models. They are messengers of God. And may they have mercy on you if you ever end up on the receiving end of their sword.
  • The ark was not a clean, dry, and cozy cruise ship.
  • The crucifixion of Jesus was not like a romantic scene from a war drama. You might have known this already if you saw Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ.

All of these revelations stayed with me as I watched each new episode of the series. However, I left out a final point in the above list, perhaps the one which was most shocking for me:

  • Jesus was likely a charismatic kind of man.

The more I think about the potential suave personality of Jesus, the more the idea makes sense. The gentle, soft-spoken blonde shepherd follows the idea of many different passages in the Gospels.

“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” –Matthew 19:14

Jesus, however, was not the kind to shrink away from a problem and brush it under the rug. Remember when he said that he did not come to bring peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34)? Let us not also forget the woes of the Pharisees (Matthew 23:1-36)! In Matthew 21, Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers who defiled the temple.

Jesus was the meeting of two natures: fully God and fully man. This means that although he was divine (God), he had emotions and became frustrated sometimes (man). John 11:35 reads: “Jesus wept.” It’s the shortest verse in the Bible. For those who don’t know, John 35 contains the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. What many don’t understand is that Jesus was not sad when Lazarus died. The following reasons show why it makes more sense that Jesus was frustrated.

  1. When Martha sent word to Jesus saying that she wanted him to come heal Lazarus, he stayed where he was until Lazarus died.
  2. Jesus knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead.
  3. Jesus was the Son of God, and the people didn’t understand that. They simply said, “Oh, see how Jesus loved Lazarus!”

Jesus, as a preacher with many followers, was likely to have a charming personality. He wasn’t like most mesmerizing preachers: there was no conning or manipulation behind the welcoming smile. No; when you live in him and desire him, he will give you those desires. Through prayer, he’s totally accessible.

“Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” –John 15:13

I chose the above passage as a closing because I wanted you all to remember that we are friends of Jesus. Knowing that Jesus is a friend to all, I’m frankly not surprised anymore that he’s the alluring type.

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Sanctification: Pushing Through April 6, 2013

Filed under: God's Grace Is Enough,Within the Church — christical @ 4:52 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Hello readers:

Foremost, I pray that you all had a blessed Easter!

Second: As you know (or perhaps don’t), most Christian denominations celebrated Easter this past Sunday; I say most because my friend celebrates Easter this year in May. The candy is gone. The leftovers of ham and potatoes are sitting in your fridge, cold. Frankly, the energy boost from Easter Sunday is beginning to wear off, especially if you are dealing with the stress of traveling.

Earlier this week on Twitter, someone pointed out that it’s easy to be a Christian on Easter because it’s one of two days in which the world celebrates with us (the other being Christmas). While somewhat pessimistic, it is also somewhat true. Having faith is not easy. If it were easy, Jesus probably would not have added that one sentence in Matthew 5:

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

In fact, if Christians were supposed to be perfect, the Beatitudes (along with the Epistles) would not even be in the bible!

On Easter Sunday, we Christians celebrated our justification. This “justification” changed our status from nonbeliever to believer; it changed our end-of-world destination. Now comes the difficult, but oh-so-rewarding sanctification. Sanctification literally means “To make holy.” By sanctification, we become better people–essentially, we start to act more like the ideal Christian.

For most people, the first change is a small one: from smiling at the grocery store clerk to using a different choice of words in your moment of frustration, we begin to notice more about the world and adapt accordingly. Wherever you are on the road of sanctification, it can be helpful to keep the following in mind:

  • Changes take time to become habit. Most people will tell you that breaking a bad habit or implementing a new habit takes about 21 days to really become a habit. However long it takes for you, remember that a problem with an overnight history will usually not have an overnight solution.
  • Changing means learning. This goes back to my earlier statement that no Christian is perfect (saint and sinner: that’s for another blog post). Consult that Bible! You can learn a lot of things about speaking appropriately (Proverbs 25:11), balance (Ecclesiastes 3:1-9), and how God equips us for tested patience (Ephesians 6:10-20).
  • Trial and error are a part of learning. Sometimes the Bible does not have answers to certain specific questions (Is it okay to listen to loud music? Should I change jobs? Is my boyfriend The One?). In these situations, I find it best to pray, think through the situation thoroughly, and make an educated decision.
  • Pushing through spiritual lulls is no simple feat. However, God is with us (Matthew 28:20). With this, I urge you to go in peace about your day, having no worry of the future, whatever season you are in.

     

     
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