Archive for February, 2010

(If there are awards for longest time between posts in a blog series, I would be a serious contender.)

In one sense all people are children of God. Paul affirmed this in his sermon to the people of Athens, who were idol worshipers. He told them that God made us all so that we would seek him. He then corrected their understanding of God by pointing out that as offspring of God we should understand that God can’t be a stone that we ourselves make, “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man” (Acts 17:28-29).

All people are children of God in that they are created by God and made in the image of God.

However, the Injil also makes clear that those who believe in God through Jesus are adopted as children in a special sense. “But to all who did receive [Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Making us sons and daughters is why God sent Jesus Christ. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:4-7). Through Jesus Christ God has adopted believers into his family so that it is right and fitting to not only call him “Lord” or “God Over All” but also, “Father” and even “Daddy” (“Abba” is Aramaic [the language of Christ] and was less formal).

As sons and daughters of God adopted into his family, we enjoy all the benefits that we would expect for children of the King. In adoption we see God’s great love. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1).

Children of God can be at peace because they know that God their Father will take care of all their needs (Matthew 6:25-33). They can be at peace because they know God their Father gives them good gifts (Matthew 7:7-11). And ultimately they can have peace because as sons and daughters they are also heirs of God. All that is his becomes theirs. “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17).

Part 1: Adam Is the Son of God
Part 2: The People of God (Israel) Are the Son of God
Part 3: The Son of David Is the Son of God
Part 4: Jesus Christ Is the Son of God
Part 5: Jesus Christ Is God’s Unique Son
Part 6: Believers Are Sons and Daughters of God

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The 99 Names of God

Muslims celebrate the 99 names of God. As a Christian follower of Jesus, I find it helpful to look through the list of God’s 99 names because it reminds me of so many different aspects of who God is. I’d love to hear from Muslim friends about which name is your favorite and from Christian friends about which name surprised you or stood out the most.

This list of the 99 Names of God is from Wikipedia

1 الرحمن Ar-Rahmān The All Beneficent
2 الرحيم Ar-Rahīm The Most Merciful
3 الملك Al-Malik The Owner
4 القدوس Al-Quddūs The Most Holy
5 السلام As-Salām The Peace
6 المؤمن Al-Mu’min The Guarantor
7 المهيمن Al-Muhaymin The Guardian
8 العزيز Al-‘Azīz The Almighty
9 الجبار Al-Jabbār The Powerful
10 المتكبر Al-Mutakabbir The Tremendous
11 الخالق Al-Khāliq The Creator
12 البارئ Al-Bāri’ The Rightful
13 المصور Al-Muṣawwir The Fashioner of Forms
14 الغفار Al-Ghaffār The Ever Forgiving
15 القهار Al-Qahhār The All Compelling Subduer
16 الوهاب Al-Wahhāb The Bestower
17 الرزاق Ar-Razzāq The Ever Providing
18 الفتاح Al-Fattāh The Opener
19 العليم Al-‘Alīm The All Knowing,
20 القابض Al-Qābiḍ The Restrainer
21 الباسط Al-Bāsiṭ The Expander
22 الخافض Al-Khāfiḍ The Abaser
23 الرافع Ar-Rāfi’ The Exalter
24 المعز Al-Mu’izz The Giver of Honour
25 المذل Al-Mudhill The Giver of Dishonour
26 السميع As-Samī’ The All Hearing
27 البصير Al-Baṣīr The All Seeing
28 الحكم Al-Ḥakam The Judge
29 العدل Al-`Adl The Utterly Just
30 اللطيف Al-Laṭīf The Gentle
31 الخبير Al-Khabīr The All Aware
32 الحليم Al-Ḥalīm The Forbearing
33 العظيم Al-‘Aẓīm The Magnificent
34 الغفور Al-Ghafūr The All Forgiving
35 الشكور Ash-Shakūr The Grateful
36 العلي Al-‘Aliyy The Sublimely Exalted
37 الكبير Al-Kabīr The Great
38 الحفيظ Al-Ḥafīẓ The Preserver
39 المقيت Al-Muqīt The Nourisher
40 الحسيب Al-Ḥasīb The Bringer of Judgment
41 الجليل Al-Jalīl The Majestic
42 الكريم Al-Karīm The Bountiful
43 الرقيب Ar-Raqīb The Watchful
44 المجيب Al-Mujīb The Responsive
45 الواسع Al-Wāsi’ The Vast
46 الحكيم Al-Ḥakīm The Wise
47 الودود Al-Wadūd The Loving
48 المجيد Al-Majīd The All Glorious
49 الباعث Al-Bā’ith The Raiser of The Dead
50 الشهيد Ash-Shahīd The Witness
51 الحق Al-Ḥaqq The Truth
52 الوكيل Al-Wakīl The Trustee
53 القوى Al-Qawwiyy The Strong
54 المتين Al-Matīn The Firm
55 الولى Al-Waliyy The Protecting Friend
56 الحميد Al-Hamid The All Praiseworthy
57 المحصى Al-Muḥṣi The Accounter
58 المبدئ Al-Mubdi’ The Producer
59 المعيد Al-Mu’īd The Restorer
60 المحيى Al-Muḥyi The Giver of
61 المميت Al-Mumīt The Bringer of Death
62 الحي Al-Ḥayy The Ever Living
63 القيوم Al-Qayyūm The Self Subsisting Provider of All
64 الواجد Al-Wājid The Perceiver
65 الماجد Al-Mājid The Illustrious
66 الواحد Al-Wāḥid The One
67 الاحد Al-‘Aḥad The One, the All Inclusive
68 الصمد Aṣ-Ṣamad The Self Sufficient
69 القادر Al-Qādir The All Able
70 المقتدر Al-Muqtadir The All Determiner
71 المقدم Al-Muqaddim The Expediter
72 المؤخر Al-Mu’akhkhir The Delayer
73 الأول Al-‘Awwal The First (Alpha)
74 الأخر Al-‘Akhir The Last (Omega)
75 الظاهر Aẓ-ẓāhir The Manifest
76 الباطن Al-Bāṭin The Hidden
77 الوالي Al-Wāli The Patron
78 المتعالي Al-Mutā’ali The Self Exalted
79 البر Al-Barr The Most Kind and Righteous
80 التواب At-Tawwāb The Ever Returning
81 المنتقم Al-Muntaqim The Avenger
82 العفو Al-‘Afuww The Pardoner
83 الرؤوف Ar-Ra’ūf The Compassionate
84 مالك الملك Mālik-ul-Mulk The Owner of All Sovereignty
85 ذو الجلال والإكرام Dhū-l-Jalāli wa-l-‘ikrām The Lord of Majesty and Generosity
86 المقسط Al-Muqsiţ The Equitable
87 الجامع Al-Jāmi’ The Gatherer
88 الغني Al-Ghaniyy The All Rich
89 المغني Al-Mughni The Enricher
90 المانع Al-Māni’ The Withholder
91 الضار Aḍ-Ḍārr The Distressor
92 النافع An-Nāfi’ The Propitious
93 النور An-Nūr The Light
94 الهادي Al-Hādi The Guide
95 البديع Al-Badī’ The Incomparable
96 الباقي Al-Bāqi The Ever Enduring and Immutable
97 الوارث Al-Wārith The Heir
98 الرشيد Ar-Rashīd The Guide
99 الصبور Aṣ-Ṣabur The Patient

51 الحق Al-Ḥaqq The Truth

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I Hate This

This is the side of a mosque in Tennessee that was recently vandalized. It makes me sick that someone actually connects the cross of Jesus Christ with such actions and thoughts.

The sad irony is that when they nailed Jesus to the cross they (and we, by our own sin) were rejecting him and saying, “Go home, we don’t want you.” Jesus Christ, on the other hand, was (and still is) saying, “I am doing this for you so that you can come home with me.”

You can read the story or see it at Talk Islam, where I learned about it.

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From Doug Wolter:

As I look at the Psalms, I’m amazed at how little we do and how much He does.  For example:

Psalm 23:1-3

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me besides still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and [he] heard my cry
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog,
and [he] set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.

Psalm 55:22

Cast your burden on the LORD,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

Psalm 91:14-16

Because he holds fast to me in loveI will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to meI will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and [I will] honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and [I will] show him my salvation.

In summary, all I need to do is come poor and needy because He comes to me rich in mercy. Hallelujah!

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Loretta Zilinger was raped. She was convinced Dean Cage had raped her. He was convicted and sent to prison for 40 years, always insisting on his innocence. Sixteen years DNA evidence proved that he was innocent. He was finally released.

Zilinger still believed he was guilty and was convinced the DNA test was wrong. She feared for her safety. Cage struggled with adjusting to life outside prison. After being convinced that the DNA evidence is highly accurate she agreed to meet him. Rather, than hold on to bitterness towards his accuser, Cage embraced her and recognized that both of them were victims of the rapist.

Now they are working together to help other victims and those they misidentified. They want to spread their “message of forgiveness.”

Zilinger had lived with hatred and bitterness for years towards Cage. I imagine Cage was tempted to the same feelings towards her as he sat falsely condemned in a jail cell.  This paragraph from the CNN story really stuck out to me, “For the first time since the attack, Zilinger no longer lives in fear. She feels at peace, like she has closure, and she wants to help other women reach that point.” She doesn’t know who raped her. This rapist is presumably still living free. And yet she feels at peace. What accounts for this?

The man who raped her took her innocence. But he didn’t take her peace. It was years of bitterness and hatred that took her peace. In fact, we see that it wasn’t justice that would restore her peace (the perpetrator is still at large). It was forgiveness. By forgiving Cage and releasing all her hatred toward him she gained peace. Bitterness and peace can’t coexist.

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. – Hebrews 12:14-15

Related Posts:
The Destruction of Peace
Sin Destroys Peace

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What’s in a Name?

As one whose name means “Warrior”, I take offense that a German orthodontist refused to treat a 16 year old boy because his name is Jihad (plus I have a good friend with this name).

HT: Talk Islam

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I love the idea of a Christian, Jew and Muslim “Trialogue”. It was put together by Bob Roberts, pastor of Northwood Church in Keller, Texas. It worked like this: Members of the church and the mosque went to the Jewish worship service Friday night at Temple Shalom. Then they all went to the Muslim worship service on Saturday at the mosque. Then they all went to the Christian worship service on Sunday at the church.  Afterward each service the three leaders fielded questions.

Ed Stetzer interviewed Roberts on his blog (you can also read the Dallas Morning News report). Here are a couple of key quotes:

I work with people of different religions all over the world– I don’t think we in the West know how to speak of faith and treat people with respect at the same time.

How can we build relationships if we don’t speak honestly to each other. I’m tired of having to be religiously politically correct. I’m also tired of the arrogance of some evangelicals who don’t know how to disagree and treat others with respect.

When asked about worshiping at the mosque he said:

It was an educational event. I don’t view it as “satanic” or “demonic” these are people that are sincere and seeking God. Going into bars, movie theatres, and banks are probably a lot more “satanic” than anything else! I want to know how they think, etc., Paul did it in the synagogue and at Mars Hill. Those people who are seeking God the most, are the ones I want to relate to. I want to be like Paul in this regard.

Worshipping with Muslims? At first I would have said no – but worship isn’t about the space it is “the hearts affection and the mind’s attention” as Jordan Fowler says – so I can worship anywhere, anytime, anyplace – as long as I am right with God and my focus is directed toward God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In my car, in my study, in a mosque, in a catholic church, in a synagogue, on the side of a mountain, in an airplane – the Holy Spirit doesn’t leave me when I walk in places he goes before me and guides me into those places as long as the primary focus is to glorify God.

When describing how he is received by Muslims, he answers:

I’m being introduced as “This is my evangelical friend,” and after a moment of someone looking at me in horror the following, “but he is a good guy – he isn’t mean to us.” I was in Gaza last week – and I was taken around like a “trophy” by some, everytime being introduced, “he is an evangelical pastor – but he is ok.” It has always left me with this question, “what have we done that they don’t mind our view of Jesus – but they do mind us?”

In the comments section he responds to a Muslim friend (who had also left a comment) by saying, in part:

Multi-faith says the basis of our relationship is respect – not agreement. In the service you heard me say I want the whole world to be Christian – the Imam said he wants the whole world to Muslim. It is because we both believe we believe the truth. The question is not do I want someone to be a Christian, in my religion with the Great Commision and yours with the Dauwa that is part of our Holy Books. The question is can I love you without an agenda. Jesus healed, related, and went places to people he considered sick, evil, demonic, etc., and he loved them all – Paul did the same.

Many in the comments section of Stetzer’s blog disagree strongly, but I like this comment from a woman who attended the events:

I attended all three events this past weekend and I was excited, nervous and deeply moved. The Jewish and Muslim people were more kind and generous than some of the people in my own congregation. I wept openly as I watched fathers worshiping alongside of their young sons in the Mosque on Saturday. I kept thinking of my own son and how I want those Muslim boys to know my son now and in heaven. I saw more dedication and focus during 7 minutes of prayer from these young boys than I would even expect from my own children. It was moving and eye opening that these people love their family and their god just like I love mine. I pray we raise our children to know and love people from all walks of life so that just maybe, one day, I can sing and dance with those people before the throne of the one true God. It can only happen relationally and with the love of Jesus Christ.

HT: Vitamin Z

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