Sharing Jesus With The World

English Version of the Story

Chinese Version of the Story
《圣经》中的一切都以耶稣为中心。下面将讲述这一点如此重要的原因: The Story Chinese

Immoveable Mountains?

The will of God will never take you to where the grace and protection of God cannot sustain you. He is a mountain mover. Just stand in the valley and watch that mountain disappear!

Matthew 17:20 (ESV)

20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”[a]

 

What about things of today?

#separation
Will we allow social morays to separate us from His love? His word says …

If a man say,I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen – 1 John 4:20.

So hatred of our brother will separate us from His love? Remember that we are all family!

Be encouraged

 

 

#beaBarnabas
Barnabas was so named because he was a source of encouragement.
We are expected to be encouraged by the Word of God and to be a source of strength for others. We know that He is with us throughout all things! Belief ➡️ faith ➡️ actions ➡️ encouragement and a willingness to press on!

Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. — Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV

This world needs courageous encouragers who understand the priceless gift that they have been given by our Heavenly Father! We are the priceless bride of Christ called to be courageous encouragers! This world needs us!

Love is An Action Verb! Be Love!

Love is an action verb. When deployed it will change lives forever! As we live lives of love we realize that ….

It is not how much we have to give but how empty we are so as to receive God fully. Take away your eyes from yourself and rejoice that you have nothing, are nothing, can do nothing. Then give Jesus a big smile each time your nothingness frightens you. Paraphrased from Mother Theresa.

 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. I guess the question now is do we love ourselves? Spread joy everywhere you go – demonstrate love by being an encourager!
WOW
…living life by loving others as Christ Loves us
…Sharing the truth of His love with others because He shares it with us IS HIS CALL ON OUR LIVES. Living in love is more effective than speaking it. Remember that the word of God is timeless and actions of love live on through eternity! Love is an Action Verb! Jesus is Love-His name means and shows love. 

Worship Him With Absolute Abandonment Because…..

#HighestPraise

As WE, His chosen people-His Royal Priesthood-gather together today to worship His holy name know that He guards and protects us. So, worship Him with absolute abandonment and know that He loves us. He holds us with His loving healing hands!

The Freedom of the Earth.

#lookingforward to that day when wars will cease and mankind will be 1!!

Hatred will be permanently erased because we will love like the Son!

Be the church.

#livingexampleoftheword

Being a living example of The Word is more than posting Scripture on our social media profiles. It’s living a life of love toward others. It being “love” to people even when …
1. They are a threat to our lifestyles.
2. Their actions make them unloveable…and
3. It is giving and keeping your word.
4. It is being kind and truthful in relationships, even when it hurts to speak the truth.
5. It is guarding our tongues, or fingers, no matter how much a person had “ticked” us off or questioned our authority.
5. It is giving, serving, and caring for the unloveable. Why?

Because Christ did the same thing for us. Living as Jesus and giving like Jesus are not two separate things. They are one and the same!

When things go from bad to worse….

Remember – telling my self this too – no matter how bad things get be like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – even if He won’t fix it. MY HOPE IS IN YOU ALONE LORD! From my conversations with folks, things are rough right now for many of you. You think that your prayers are not being heard, but that is not the case. He has heard and answered them. Sing this song and know that He is truly able to sustain us all!

 

So when you just can’t encourage others because you are so discouraged just remember that….

I know you’re able
And I know you can
Save through the fire
With your mighty hand
But even if you don’t 
My Hope is you alone
I know the sorrow
I know the hurt
Would all go away
If you’d just say the word
But even if you don’t
My hope is you alone
– “Even If” by MercyMe

It really is well with our souls – even if it seems that all around is falling apart and we can’t even see the pieces let alone find them.

 

He will complete His work in ..

#acompleter
He has never lost a battle. He’s a completed. Don’t give up!’

Called of God to know peace!

#experiencepeace
Even when life becomes challenging, we can look back and that He was there all the time!

He will work it out!

#novengeance
The is no problem that is too great for God. Do you believe it?

The Final Solution

#finalsolution
With all of the racial strife permeating this nation one must consider the source as well as the solution for this upheaval.
Source
The devil comes to steal, devour, and separate. As long as he can focus our attention on hateful things we will forget the commandment of our Lord.

Solution

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31English Standard Version ESV

“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”  ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭119:165‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Loving God is not separate from loving our neighbor and it brings us and society great peace. We don’t get to pick who our neighbor is. When we quote this Scripture

“……nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:38-39‬ ‭NIV‬‬ we must realize that this also means the separation of the races.

The refusal to love all people regardless of their skin color, their temperament, their personality, their social status, and or their level of education cannot be allowed to separate from the “love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”  Finally, we don’t love each other because social activists want or tell us to. We don’t invite people into our churches from various ethnic groups to prove a point. We don’t cross the racial divide to prove to society that it can be done. We don’t do it just because we want to be the first church in our racially divided community that is integrated.  We do it because Scripture says,

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.1 John 4:19-21 ESV

Why do we do it? Walk in love for He is love!

Roots of bitterness.

 

When we love others as he loves us then the roots of bitterness do not flourish.

Wait and hope.

#Hope
Our hope is never deferred. He heard us the first time that we cried out to Him. We just have to wait and in hopeful expectation.
https://g.co/kgs/Q581mA

Fake Worship

#GodExpectsUsToLive by the words we play and sing. Trust and obey is not a suggestion it is an expectation!

#Hislove

Covered

His love covers my sins like an x-ray blanket. The enemy cannot get to them. All I have to do is let it go. Then do the same when I am wronged.

Do not be downcast!

#depression
Do not give up! The God of Hope is your God!
https://youtu.be/zyhCbCnwXFQ

He has you!

#Hewillneverletyougo
The Lord holds us in the palm of His hands. He is not like people who use each other like paper towels then discard them when it is expedient to do so. He will never let us go. His love is never ending no matter what we do.

Praise Him

#praises
Praise Him who made and sustains us through all things. Give honor to His majestic name even when it appears that we are in a pit of darkness. Just look for the light of His love and praise Him anyhow!

Be still and exalt His name.

#PraiseHim

Sometimes I just need to stop what I am doing, thinking, feeling etc., and be still so I can experience His presence to its fullest in my life. It is at these times that I know that He is the one true God who deserves all of my highest praise. Not my left overs from the long day and or week, but the best that I have to offer. I must exalt His Holy and Mighty Name.

Temptations will come…

#HeIsAbleToSeeMeThrough

Sometimes God places us in a situation for a season, a reason, or for a lifetime. There is always the temptation to force the issue and stay within one’s comfort zone. There is also the temptation to live by one’s ego and want to stay where God may not want us to be anymore. In our daily lives, we may find ourselves eating foods that we know are not good for us, but the excuse is “I am too busy doing ministry to eat properly!” I have heard that one so many times! Each day, and during this season of my life, I am more cognizant of the fact that God sustains and grants us the strength to do His expressed will. However, when He determines that our time of stretching is over we need to succumb to His will and take the step that He wants us to take because He will sustain us. Agonizing about a job, a post, an assignment, and or a place does not come from the Lord. When He makes it clear to us that this is where He wants us He will give us the strength to endure it. When He makes it clear to us that our time of service is over, then it is time for us to move on. We must trust in Him! He orders our steps. Remember the story of Barnabas and Paul? Maybe this is what is happening to you right now. They did reconcile at a later date. Trust in the Lord. He will direct your path.

 

Denying the Power of God

“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”

We always want to atach sin to someone illness, but it is not always the case.

“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.” Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes.

He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”).

TOTAL DISBELIEF: We say we believe God and that He is able to handle anything until the humanly perceived unbelievable occurs.

He obeyed! So the man went and washed and came back seeing! His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!” But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!” They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?” He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!” “Where is he now?” they asked. “I don’t know,” he replied.

Now one would think that the religious leaders should know better. After all, they know all about the power of God. They have read about it in the Torah for decades, BUT…

Then they took the man who had been blind to the Pharisees, why because it was on the Sabbath that Jesus had made the mud and healed him. The Pharisees asked the man all about it.

So he told them, “He put the mud over my eyes, and when I washed it away, I could see!” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them.

Their response? How many times has God sent someone to us or to our places of worship, or into our lives to help us bring about change in our lives and we have refused to believe them, but more to the point, refused to believe that He could have sent such a one as this?

Then the Pharisees again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, “What’s your opinion about this man who healed you?” The man replied, “I think he must be a prophet.”

They still cannot believe that God healed the man through the one whom He sent – Jesus!

The Jewish leaders still refused to believe the man had been blind and could now see, so they called in his parents. They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he now see?”

His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind, but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. Ask him. He is old enough to speak for himself.”WHY? His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. That’s why they said, “He is old enough. Ask him.”

So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.”

Can you believe it? Oh God did this, but He could never have done it through a  – perceived human instrument. Let’s set aside the fact that Jesus Christ is the very Son of God and could not possibly be a SINNER. However, He broke all of the traditions of the religious establishments. Their traditions were more important than placing their hearts and belief in the Messiah. What traditions do we hold so dear that we are willing to call a “sent” one, whom God has sent to help us see Him as the Glorious One, a sinner, not a part of our perceived levels of expectation etc.,

“I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?” “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”

Here is the clincher. They know more than he does because they have some form of knowledge that he does not have. Well, the bottom line here is that they were the established religious leaders. This person’s healing was about to topple their apple cart and they were not having it. It is easier to “keep things as they are” rather than accept the fact that God has the power to bring about change and that he will use anything and anyone to open our eyes to that change.

Then they cursed him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses! We know God spoke to Moses, but we don’t even know where this man comes from.” “Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where he comes from?

Seriously, did they understand who and what God is? Look at their words!

We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will. Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. If this man were not from God, he couldn’t have done it.” “You were born a total sinner!” they answered.

“Are you trying to teach us?”

There it is. There it is the pride and pomp of their positional “knowledge. After all, they were trained to be leaders. They know all about leading. This chap knew nothing, came from nothing and was worth nothing but God healed him! However, they healing came from a “nobody” a non-pharisee. A perceived non-religious leader!

And they threw him out of the synagogue.

When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man? ”

The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”

“You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!”

“Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus.

Why did Jesus come into this world?

Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”

And the response of the religious leaders?

Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?”

Jesus’ response…

“If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.” ‭‭John‬ ‭9:1-41‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When we place ourselves upon the pedestal of being the ultimate religious leader. The leader who knows all and has solutions for all problems we have become a Pharisee. Only God knows all, sees, all and has a solution for all problems. He reveals those solutions, through the Holy Spirit, as people talk through their problems together.

When we feel that following the traditions of our institutions are more important than humbly accepting the blessings that God has placed in our lives it prevents us from seeing Him for who He is. Can we pray today that our spiritual glasses will be clear. That we can accept the fact that God will send us broken vessels to serve us and that it is His perogative to do so. Can e pray today that we will accept the fact that His love for us is more powerful than our minds and or eyes can see? Then we can go forth worshipping Him in Spirit and in truth. Then we can serve others with a clear heart. Why? Because we will be serving according to His will and not according to our own desires.

Sing of His Mercies


#WorhipHimInSpiritandTruth

image
I cannot remain silent I must declare His word and sing 🎶 praises to His holy name with my whole ❤️!

Joyce’s book of Devotionals

You’re No

Resources for Women

This page is a resource just for women.

If there is a specific topic that you would like to see added to this page just contact us

  1. Do you want to know how to overcome abuse? Check out Wynn’s page.  She went home to Jesus but her message is still Powerful. You Are Not the Only One.
    1. Are your emotions till in a mess even after you have forgiven?
  2. What Are Women Called To Do.
  3. God’s high calling for women
  4. Women Prophetesses 
  5. Women and the Ministry of Jesus Christ
  6. Women of the Early Church

Divorce and Remarriage Resources

These are just resources for people who have been divorced.

They are not my opinion. All resources are based on the Biblical worldview

Article # 1

Remarriage (Matthew 19:4–6)

An Awesome Challenge

The question of remarriage is closely related to the matter of divorce. The Scripture lifts up permanent, monogamous union as the plan of the Creator (Mt 19:4–6). To understand the strong language of Scripture concerning this matter, look at the whole of Scripture to see how God regards marriage. The marriage bond between husband and wife is the same kinship bond that exists between parents and children and between God and his creation (Ge 2:24; Mt 19:6).

Some argue that remarriage is never permissible (Mk 10:11–12). Others note that the divorce teaching of Jesus includes an exception (Mt 5:32; 19:9) and close that this implies permission to remarry. Still others suggest that the understood meaning of “divorce” in ancient law included freedom to remarry, suggesting that remarriage is forbidden only after an invalid divorce. Finally, there are those who deny that Jesus gives a justification for divorce in the modern sense, although they allow that remarriage is permissible if reconciliation with a divorced spouse is rendered impossible because of death or remarriage of the divorced spouse to another partner (1 Co 7:10–11), or if the divorced spouse is a non-believer opposed to reconciliation (1 Co 7:15).

Despite these differences of Biblical interpretation, some important conclusions can be drawn:

(1) Once remarriage follows divorce, there is no turning back (Dt 24:1–4), and the tearing apart of a marriage is painful, leaving its scars on all who are touched by the tragedy.

(2) God sees the one-flesh relationship as permanent and binding because it is the picture he has chosen to portray his relationship to his children, and thus, he guards the home with great zeal (Mal 2:16).

(3) Jesus gives no divine directive nor even acceptable excuses for breaking this holy covenant but rather observes that the hardness of the human heart makes such tragedy a reality in this sinful world (Mt 19:8).

(4) The role of the church and of believers must always be redemptive. With God, forgiveness is as if it never happened. No sin or tragedy is beyond God’s forgiveness.

After seeking and receiving God’s forgiveness, a woman who remarried has a new understanding of God’s incredible grace. She must then seek a new an understanding of God’s plan for marriage (Ge 2:24), commit herself wholeheartedly to pursuing his plan and consider her vows of marriage binding before the Lord (Mt 19:5–6).

Taken from The Woman’s Study Bible

Other online articles on the same subject

 

Peace in His arms.

#TheLordIsmySolace
As I turn to Him in times of joy I must do likewise in times of turmoil. His words are true! Peace in His arms. https://youtu.be/AMSzoToRYLY

A controlled tongue grows relationships.

One of the most destructive weapons in our arsenal is our tongue. Combined with a lack of self-control one’s tongue can derail relationships, destroy a person’s self-esteem, destroy cooperative teams, and implode an organization. Verbal intimidation creates a hostile relational environment. Followers will follow in relationships, in some areas, if they understand that followers don’t lead. In every relationship, there is a slow dance between leading and following.  Organizationally, leaders are responsible for their managers. They lead by example, training, guiding, and growing their people.  It is like being a maker of disciples who make disciples. The disciple who is disciplining the other person leads, guides, mentors, and follows the lead of the Holy Spirit as they work with along with the ‘in-the-making” disciple. When dissonance occurs it is because the leader has forgotten that it is their role to lead. “Just do it” does not work in growing leaders. Everyone cannot lead. Nothing will be accomplished. I remember walking into an organization where the leader took in so many suggestions from “everyone” that they were stuck in quicksand trying to please everyone. There was a relational and organizational implosion. The leader took it personally and used verbal intimidation as their means of “controlling behaviors.” They lost their best soft organizational resource – human beings with a heart invested in the organization. The organization became emotionally ill and everyone associated with it suffered. A lack of self-control and an unwillingness to control their temper and subsequently their tongue resulted in them losing their position. Positional intimidation combined with a lack of self-control, an unwillingness to “just” listen to their staff, but a willingness to listen to everyone who was not a leader destroyed a promising career. Now apply that to relationships and spiritual growth and we can see where an unwillingness to control one’s tongue can destroy the Family of God.

It is like being a maker of disciples who make disciples. The disciple who is disciplining the other person leads, guides, mentors, and follows the lead of the Holy Spirit as they work with along with the ‘in-the-making” disciple. When dissonance occurs it is because the leader has forgotten that it is their role to lead. “Just do it” does not work in growing leaders. Everyone cannot lead in the disciplining process. Nothing will be accomplished.

A lack of self-control and an unwillingness to control their temper and subsequently their tongue resulted in them losing their position. Positional intimidation combined with a lack of self-control, an unwillingness to “just” listen to their staff, but a willingness to listen to everyone who was not a leader destroyed a promising career. Now apply that to relationships and spiritual growth and we can see where an unwillingness to control one’s tongue and a lack fo self-control will destroy relationships and the Family of God.

No one is perfect, but if group dynamics are not accepting of the work involved in building relationships, the sense of “belonging” that a person needs to experience before they can open up to group dynamics will lead to missed opportunities for relational growth for all persons involved.

I can tell myself that I am not going to step out of introversion box and move forward relationally. I can tell myself that I would rather die than talk to someone about something that is bothering me. Or I can believe that God is God and will keep His promises to me and give me the strength to have those tough conversations with people. I am called to grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That also includes knowing how to control my tongue. Knowing when to stop talking and listening to people when they reach out for counseling. I can never tell them that they should be over their issues by now. Really, when was the last time that I looked at Joyce and her issues and realize that I still have some issues that I had ten years ago? How do I know that this happens? Because I am not God and I am not perfect. I hate conflict! I hate addressing conflict. I hate hurting other people’s feelings. My friend Jeleane will tell you that I would rather give people multiple chances to change and work with them for years until they reach a point where they see the possibilities for growth and who they are and can be in Christ before slamming the door shut on them. Growing leaders takes time. Growing relationships take time. Growing relationships in an emotionally and spiritually sick environment take even more time.  We are one in Christ! Love others with the same amount of love that we expect from Christ. Grow in love, not through intimidation and verbal assaults.

Notice how she refused to change her verbiage! She used her husband’s history of snoring to attach it to her current situation. Then attacked her child because of emotional transference. Her husband came back with loving affirmations. In real life, this rarely ever happens. We want instant solutions to problems that have existed for months, years, or decades. Sometimes verbal affirmations are all it takes to de-escalate a situation. Speak like not darkness and death!

 

The Lord is my protector

Gallery

Fear Not! You have a Savior!

#mightyisourGod
Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.”
Isaiah 35:3-4 KJV
Check out this video on YouTube:

http://youtu.be/dEXP41LUC44

The Suffering of Christ on the Cross in the Theology of Jürgen Moltmann

Submitted to Dr. C. Fred Smith in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of THEO 510-B01 LUO Survey of Theology by Joyce Gerald March 10, 2017

 Contents

Introduction. 1

Thesis Statement 1

The Origins of Moltmann’s Theology of Hope and Suffering. 2

Passibility. 5

Moltmann and Passibility. 7

The Theology of a Suffering God. 8

Theologia Crucis and Suffering. 8

Christian Theology Linked to Suffering on the Cross. 10

The Trinity and Suffering. 13

The Godhead Suffers as Humanity Suffer 16

Solidarity in Suffering. 18

Present  Hope Encased in the Suffering God. 22

Conclusion. 24

Bibliography. 26

 

 

 

 

Introduction

Christians in the western world struggle to maintain an attitude of hope within the crucible of meaningless, never-ending ongoing fear and suffering caused by terrorism, poverty, political unrest, unethical political leaders, and theological debates that raise the thermometer of uncertain hope and creates a milieu of hopelessness. Humanity has placed its assurance of hope on politics or religious beliefs that fail to ease suffering and pain. The realization that neither political nor military force guarantees hope and or an assurance of peace places the church in the unenviable position of providing an answer to the following questions. Is the Godhead unreachable and does the Godhead comprehend the immensity of humanity’s suffering? How can a God of love allow suffering to exist within the dichotomy of the promise “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)? [1] Can the Godhead relate to the suffering of people everywhere? How does the theology of the cross equate with the suffering of humanity?  Individuals in crisis, under the weight of suffering, challenge Christian theology based on its ability to offer hope during times of hopelessness.

Thesis Statement

Moltmann sees the suffering of Christ as God’s way of participating in our human despair, taking it into himself, and replacing it with hope.

The purpose of this research is to explore Moltmann’s theology of hope presented through the suffering of Christ and God’s methodology of bringing His children unto himself through suffering with and for them. The paper details how the God of love suffered on the cross with His son and experiences suffering with His Children. The first part of the paper begins with a concise survey of the development Moltmann’s theology of hope and suffering as well as the concept of Moltmannian “passibility” or the God of love who experiences suffering an act love through encapsulated in the cross of Jesus Christ.”[2] The intent of this section of the paper is not to argue for the concept of passibility as a theological construct or to argue against impassibility. The discussion on passibility lays the foundation for understanding the construct of a God who lovingly knows and suffers along with His children because of His experience on the cross. Next, the project discusses the Moltmann’s theology of a suffering God with the subtopic of Theologia Crucis and suffering. Then Christian theology linked to suffering on the cross, the Trinity and the Godhead and suffering, as well as God suffering as humanity suffers, and solidarity in Suffering. Finally, the project argues the concept of present hope encased in the suffering God and ends with the summative conclusion of the presented research.

The Origins of Moltmann’s Theology of Hope and Suffering

Moltmann who lived Germany during World War II and served in the German Army after being drafted experiences suffering in such a way that it changed his worldview.[3] While reflecting on the war Moltmann recalls the ravaging death of his friend and the immensity of the suffering prompted him to cry out to God for the first time in his life “God, where are you [and] why am I still alive and not dead like the rest?”[4] Moltmann questioned his deliverance from death and the destruction of his friend. He looked at the senseless death, destruction and suffering around him and wondered where was God in the midst of all of the suffering.[5] After the destruction of Hamburg, and troubled by the abject poverty and his personal experience with misery Moltmann surrendered to a British officer and spent and three-year period as a prisoner of war who suffered behind a barbed wire fence.[6] While there Moltmann sought for answers to the two questions, as well as a reply to the question “Does God Share in Our Suffering?” he was given a Bible and read the New Testament and the book of Psalms.[7] Moltmann recollects the resonance of Psalms 36 as a verse that “echoed” within his soul.[8]

I am dumb and must eat up my suffering within myself. My life is as nothing before thee [Luther Version]. Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry. Hold not thou thy peace at my tears, For I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.[9]

Moltmann recalls the impact of the Gospel of Mark’s recordings of the death of Jesus Christ on his psyche and the theological understanding it gave him about the brotherhood that existed between himself and his Redeemer as a “fellow sufferer who carries [him] in his suffering.”[10] He continued his recollections by stating that the personal sense of being forsaken coupled with the revelation of God’s feeling of forsakenness, invaded his being [Moltmann coined a phrase “godforsakenness” to describe this feeling, and today the phrase “godforsakenness” pervades his theology of hope and suffering].”[11]  Furthermore,  Moltmann ascertains that his experiences in the concentration camp left an indelible mark on his psyche that intertwined an understanding of suffering and hope that supported each other.[12] Also, Moltmann stipulates that when an individual comprehends the fortitude of “hope” it does not negate the hurt or pain, but the suffering is “better than” developing an attitude of deadness and indifference toward suffering.[13] In 1965 Moltmann’s personal experience with suffering and loss and the urging of the Holy Spirit planted the seeds of an eschatology of hope that has changed the theological construct for many decades.[14] Moltmann presents a personally applicable view of Christianity and the hope embodied in the suffering of Christ, as well as how God relates to that suffering in a way that is unprecedented. Moltmann delivers a Christology of suffering that engenders the presence of God, during the suffering of man, be it political, social, or psychological, and connects that suffering relationally with the suffering of Christ. Moltmann’s theology of hope, offered through the suffering, crucified and resurrected Christ opens the door to hope regardless of the level of suffering and knowledge that God understands, participates in, and embraces the individual’s suffering. Moltmann declared

Faith does not come to its own in becoming radically unworldly, but by hopeful outgoing into the world, it becomes a benefit to the world. By accepting the cross, the sufferings, and death of Christ, by taking upon it the trials and struggles of obedience in the body and surrendering itself to the pain of love, it proclaims in the everyday world the future of the resurrection, of life and the righteousness of God. The future of the resurrection comes to it as it takes upon itself the cross.[15]

Moltmann declared that the cross reflected a life of suffering and challenges that projects into the future resurrection of all saints. How then does the suffering of God through the suffering of Christ make human suffering relatable to God? What term does Moltmann utilize to conceptualize God’s ability to suffer?

 

Passibility

Passibility is a concept that Moltmann uses to explain the suffering that God experiences. In defining passibility, Lee declares that God has a “drive for reunion” with humanity and this drive “makes” Him participate in the world as an act of love “the empathy of God creates the passibility of God.”[16] Lee continues” Therefore, our first task is to define the nature of God as love, and establish a criterion, the empathy of God, for the divine passibility as a mode of the divine love.”[17] Lee offers an expanded definition of passibility that lends itself to this discussion.

The terms “passibility” and “impassibility” are used to designate the capacity or incapacity of bound to the body, while suffering is in terms of a loving relationship bound to time. Thus, it is irrelevant to attribute pain to God, who is Spirit. Nevertheless, suffering can be attributed to Him, who loves us in Christ. Suffering can be divided into two categories: voluntary and involuntary suffering. The former is often called redemptive suffering, while the latter is penal suffering. When we attribute suffering to the divine, we mean the former, namely the pure form of vicarious and redemptive suffering.[18]

Furthermore, Lee explains that when God reveals Himself to us, we simultaneously envision him as both transcendent and immanent.[19]   Lees continues by expressing that human terms of, “equivocity” and “aunivocity” cannot be applied when attempting to explain passibility and the “pathos” of God because the human mind cannot “represent the highest point of contrast with our speculative idea of God.”[20] According to Lee, our faith in God “manifested in Christ”  is the fulcrum that opens a believer’s understanding of the construct of passibility (Romans 12:6).[21]

However, the idea of God being ”passible” is incongruous to most theologians because theologians equate passibility with emotions [a construct that theologians assign to corporeality] and theologians believe that human emotions negate God’s omniscience and  His incorporeality.[22] Scrutton’s study on emotions and its impact on God’s incorporeality led Scrutton to propose that “divine incorporeality does not pose a serious threat to divine passibility. . . .”[23] Scrutton concluded the study of emotions and passibility by agreeing with modern theologians that “some emotional experiences might be attributed to an omnipotent, omniscient, incorporeal God. . . .”[24]Scrutton supports Moltmann’s construct of passibility and the ability of God to experience emotions such as suffering while maintaining His role as Lord of the Universe.[25] The passibility of God veers to the right of ancient Christology and theological thought about the person of God.  Is passibility just a theoretical construct that is devoid of scriptural support or does it present an argument for the very nature of the God of love who renders all things as possible, even Him suffering with His children, as a display of His love for His highest creation?

Moltmann and Passibility

Moltmann views passibility as an extension of God’s love for man.  Moltmann declares that God experienced suffering through Christ’s suffering on the cross relates that experience of suffering to the suffering of human history through the construct of divine passibility.[26]  Moltmann’s vision of the passibility of a God who suffered abandonment is encapsulated in this statement “To take up the theology of the cross today is to go beyond the limits of the doctrine of salvation and to inquire into the revolution needed in the concept of God.”[27] When defining God’s suffering, the latitude of that suffering, and modern theologians’ conceptualization of that suffering, Neal declares that the construct would be null and void without the application of Moltmann’s theory or “treatment” of passibility.[28]  Furthermore, Neal iterated Moltmann’s assertion about passibility by declaring that Christ who continually proclaimed the imminent coming of the kingdom of God suffered and died.”[29]

According to Neal, Moltmann believes that “the cross” licenses “divine passibility” because the event of the cross allowed God to open Himself to suffering.[30]  This viewpoint is contrary to Enns who believes that Moltmann denies the historicity of the cross.[31] Neal proposes that Moltmann’s Christology rejects  “analogical epistemology and two-natures Christology” because they foster a barrier that separates God from suffering and inadvertently separates Him from the suffering of his children; thus, creating a barrier between God and His children.[32]  For Moltmann passibility is something that the Godhead experiences and opens a viaduct of hope for the suffering because God experienced suffering on the cross. [33] It is essential that one comprehends that suffering is a real-life experience for Moltmann; therefore, expressing a hope embedded in the suffering of God, through His passibility, is tantamount to comprehending the compassion of God for His people.

The Theology of a Suffering God

As a soldier during World War II, Moltmann’s personal experience with the rigors of human depravity, suffering, and abandonment merged with the understanding of a passible God, who suffers. Understanding the concept of passibility is central to understanding Moltmann’s assertion that God knows human suffering as it relates to Christ’s passion. Moltmann proffers the suffering of The Lord, and God’s experience of that suffering, as His divine participation in the depths of humanity’s feelings of absolute abandonment.

Theologia Crucis and Suffering

Moltmann declares that as he interpreted Luther’s Theologia Crucis, he recognizes that as God reveals himself through the suffering of the cross “He repudiates in us the arrogant man or woman and accepts the sinner in us.” [He gives us hope because He knows and understands our immense pain during our suffering.][34]  Moltmann places high importance on the event of the cross and its significance to Christology.  Traditional theologians may not adhere to this viewpoint because Moltmann extends the importance of the cross to the entire Godhead (See the discussion on the Trinity and the Cross.) Moltmann reflects that he asked himself what God intended humans to comprehend “in the cross of Christ.”[35] Moltmann posited that in addition to an answer to that question he needed to determine what the cross meant to God and recognizes that the manifestation of the cross” is God’s suffering [as an act] of . . .. passionate love for his lost creatures.”

Moltmann declares that the suffering of Christ embodies the “divine reason for the reconciliation of the universe [this speaks to God’s love and hope for humanity as He brings each person unto himself and into the God family,]” and the foundational basis for the theology of the cross.[36] The “divine reconciliation of the universe” through the cross of suffering demonstrates high Christology and not at all humanistic as Enns contends. [37] Moltmann argues that the “pinnacle of the Christian faith” and theology is based on the “suffering and death of Christ on the cross.”[38]

Moltmann affirms Scripture when he identifies the “death of Christ on the cross” as the pinnacle of the Christian faith.”[39] Moltmann’s theology of the cross is not “humanistic” nor Marxist” in nature but evangelical because it declares the “good news” represented by the suffering Savior on the cross of Calvary.[40] It is that same good news that hymnists have written about throughout the centuries of the church.

Christian Theology Linked to Suffering on the Cross

Moltmann takes this train of thought a step further by proposing that the theology of a suffering God on the cross require acceptance by Christians for them to receive the hope of release and or relief from the profundity of suffering that they experience in their daily existence.[41]  Furthermore, Moltmann sees the theology of the suffering God on the cross as the core of all Christian beliefs and stretches the theology of the cross to embrace the concept of a God who suffers on the cross as the “theme…. and centre of all Christian theology.”[42] Moltmann also proposes that belief in the suffering God determines how “solutions” for all problems come to a resolution on earth.[43] Moltmann continues by declaring that all Christian “statements about God, creation, sin, death, history, the church, faith, sanctification,” stem from a clear understanding of the magnitude of the suffering crucified Christ.[44]

It is not the only theme of [Christian]theology, but it is in effect the entry to [the solutions to all] its problems . . . . on earth. All Christian statements about God, about creation, about sin and death have their focal point in the crucified Christ. All Christian statements about history, about the church, about faith and sanctification, about the future and about hope stem from the crucified Christ.[45]

It appears that Moltmann is attempting to unravel Christian theology; however, central to our faith is our belief in the cross and the hope it offers to a sin-laden humanity that suffers under the burden of its sin. Neal submits that Moltmann interconnects God’s absolute passion for humanity with all its suffering. [46] Moltmann posits that the hope proffered by Jesus’ “deliberate” suffering on the cross is a quietus for the hopelessness experienced by humanity and “a [death that] affirmed . . . .[Jesus’] passion for God.”[47]

Moltmann is keenly aware of the type of hope that suffering people must experience to embrace the hope incorporated in the concept of a God who suffers. Moltmann states

Hope finds in Christ not only a consolation in suffering, but also the protest of the divine promise against suffering …. [Does this mean that the suffering individual should wait for the suffering to cease?] faith takes up this contradiction and thus becomes itself a contradiction to the world of death…. [Apparently not – but] faith, wherever it develops into hope, causes not rest but unrest …. [Unrest translated as suffering?] it does not calm the unquiet heart, but is itself this unquiet heart in man …. peace with God means conflict with the world ….[48]

According to Moltmann, the concept of a suffering God is problematic for theology because “Theology has only one problem: God. We are theologians for God’s sake. . . .  God is our suffering. God is our hope.”[49] Consequently, Moltmann is declaring that by humanity’s ‘experience of suffering’ profoundly impacts God.[50]

Harvie iterates Moltmann’s statement and proposes that not only does humanity’s suffering “question theology” it also brings to bear a “‘[theological] crisis of relevance’ within Christianity.”[51]  Moltmann proffers that the glorious suffering of God on the cross rendered void the godforsakenness evident in the wall of separation between God and all His creation.[52] The cross enjoined God with the part of creation that He created in His image.  The cross represents the hope in the phrase “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness,” or “When the woes of life o’er take me, Hopes deceive, and fears annoy, Never shall the cross forsake me; Lo! It glows with peace and joy.“[53] The words in these hymns reflect what Moltmann declares about the importance of the cross to Christians as they consider the suffering of the Lord juxtaposed against their suffering. They envision that “godforsakenness” no longer reigns supreme in their lives because of the suffering Savior.[54] Does Moltmann extend this concept of God as a God who suffers to the triune Godhead?

 

The Trinity and Suffering

2 Corinthians 1:4 declares that the Holy Spirit “. . . . comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble [Does this apply to suffering too?], by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” Could the extension of this Scripture and the “comfort” that we experience from the knowledge that not only does Christ and God suffer with their children, but so does the Holy Spirit?  Moltmann presents Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection as events in human history as well as Trinitarian historical life and experience.[55] Moltmann posits that the cross actualizes Trinitarian suffering not just for but along with the created.[56] Moltmann demonstrates the cyclical nature of the suffering Trinity when he declares

The Son suffers dying, the Father suffers the death of the Son. The grief of the Father here is just as important as the death of the Son. The Fatherlessness of the Son is matched by the Sonlessness of the Father, and if God has manifested himself as the Father of Jesus Christ, then he also suffers the death of his Fatherhood in the death of the Son.[57]

Moltmann continues by revealing that faith in the suffering Jesus and the redemptive nature of the cross necessitates the need to “speak in trinitarian terms of the Son and the Father and the Spirit.”[58]  Moltmann posits that the suffering of the cross is at the nucleus of the Trinity.[59]

According to Harvie, Moltmann’s trinitarian theology “takes its bearings from the biblical testimony of the interpersonal relationships of the three divine persons.”[60] Harvie explains that Moltmann’s concept of the Trinity and God’s love for humanity is encased in the role of the Holy Spirit in God’s plan for humankind. [61] Moltmann’s construct of the suffering God and the suffering of Christ and His people is not based on a sadistic need of God to sees people suffer but rather because of His Love for humanity.[62]   Moltmann proposes that God suffers in “a third form” of suffering that humanity realizes. [63]“the voluntary laying oneself open to another [God opens up Himself to allow Himself] to be intimately affected by [humanity]; that is to say, the suffering of passionate love.” [64]  

God “opening up Himself” is outside of the realm of traditional theology. [65] Moltmann reveals that theological thoughts about the formation of the Trinity are “doxological” in nature because it “expresses the experience of God in the apprehension of Christ” as part of the fellowship of the Godhead.[66] Moltmann argues that when one “expresses” the “doxological” nature of the spirit a pattern of “thinking, speaking, feeling, acting, and suffering” reveals experiences that are overpowering with “profound” expectations for the Triune God.[67] Moltmann posits that when theology applies the distinction of “apophatical’ expressions of God, it enriches humanity’s thinking about God and leads to a searching of God that frees the mind to see the Triune God as He is a loving entity that experiences the suffering of His children.[68] Moltmann believes that the humanity experiences the Holy Spirit as an “impelling and consoling entity [that leads God’s people to] prayer, [sighs, laments and complaints] before God.”[69]

Furthermore, Moltmann explains why this leading is so important” prayer always remains the voice of all those who apparently have no voice – and in this voice there always echoes that “loud cry” attributed to Christ.[70]  Moltmann clarifies the role of the Spirit by stating “. . . . praying, sighing, complaining, and crying out for God are not religious gifts or performances. . . .[But] realistic expressions of the abyss into which people have fallen.” [71]How does this relate to the work of the Holy Spirit in God’s expression of love toward His children? Moltmann iterates “Wherever the cry from the depths is heard, the Spirit who ‘helps us in our weakness’ is present. [The Spirits knows our condition and helps.] When in our torment we ourselves fall dumb, the Spirit is there too, interceding for us ‘with sighs too deep for words’ (Ro 8.26).[72]

Moltmann ensures that Christians understand that their suffering is not without hope. Moltmann points to the groaning of the Spirit as God’s act of love and a declaration of solidarity.[73] Moltmann continues with affirmation of the depths of God’s love for His creation by stating

The sighs of fettered creation are taken up by the sighs of the Spirit who dwells in it, [therefore, the Spirit feels and experiences what the creation is feeling and experiencing] and are brought before God. The ‘invocation of the Holy Spirit’, the epiklesis, is in the reality of this world identical with the cry de profundis which we find in Ps. 130.1: ‘Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Lord.’[74]

The Triune God expresses His love to His creation in that while it suffers He draws them to Himself as He experiences their suffering not through on act of punishment but through the action of love and compassion. For it is through suffering that His people unite with Him in a bond of love and adoration that they can translate and demonstrate to others.

Moltmann declares “If [the triune] God were incapable of suffering in every respect, then he would also be incapable of love. He would at most be capable of loving himself, but not of loving another as himself.”[75] Moltmann sees the triune God as a God who loves and suffers “by virtue of his love, he remains master of the pain that love causes him to suffer.”[76] As a united entity the Godhead suffers not because it needs to suffer “But [it] suffers from the love which is the superabundance and overflowing of [its] being.”[77] Carrying the concept of God suffering even further Moltmann appears to be declaring that God suffers as humanity suffers.

The Godhead Suffers as Humanity Suffer

Moltmann’s theme of the suffering God continues as he adds another level to the suffering of the suffering God.  Moltmann exclaimed, ”Through his own abandonment by God, the crucified Christ brings God to those who [feel] abandoned by God.”[78] One cannot comprehend the immensity of this statement.  The one who created all things and left His heavenly abode to embrace humanness experienced abandonment on behalf of humanity.  Moltmann envisioned that “Through his suffering he brings salvation to those who suffer [regardless of the origin of that suffering].”[79]

That statement gives suffering persons a reason to pause and contemplate on the extent of God’s love for them. In addition to embracing the scope of God’s love for His children the suffering creation must conclude that “the tempted, rejected, suffering and dying Christ came to be the centre of the religion of the oppressed and the piety of the lost.” [80] Unless one feigns atheism, at the core of every human being is a desire to be connected with God even if that individual uses the term “higher being” to label God. Not only does Moltmann proclaim that God suffered on the cross, but Moltmann also espouses the abandonment of God on the cross reflects human neglect. Moltmann cites Bonhoeffer’s lengthy explanation of the importance of the relationship between God, suffering, and abandonment

God lets himself be pushed out of the world on to the cross. He is weak and powerless in the world, [not in a sense that people envision weakness, but in His humanity He embraced the human concept of weakness.] and that is precisely the way, the only way, in which he is with us [in our suffering and takes us into Himself as He] helps us [to navigate our sufferings] Matt. 8.17.[81]

Bonhoeffer is insistent that the belief grasps the level of commitment that the Godhead has for His creation; this helping His children, through suffering, is not a by-product of God’s humanness.  Bonhoeffer declared that God’s actions “makes it abundantly clear that Christ helps us, not by virtue of his omnipotence, but by virtue of his weakness and suffering.”[82] Subsequently, this vision of God as a weak and suffering God does not implicate that God has lost His omnipotence. It implies that despite the humanness attached to suffering or inferred by weakness, God chose to suffer with the ones whom He created in His image. Bonhoeffer concludes the premise by declaring, “Only the suffering God can help … That is a reversal of what the religious man expects from God. Man is summoned to share in God’s sufferings at the hands of a godless world.”[83]

The hope engendered in this statement offers consolation to the suffering. Be it the suffering Korean who endures the tyranny of a communist regime or the disabled child who cannot take care of themselves. How about the cancer patient who does not comprehend why God is allowing them to suffer? Alternatively, the suffering of the mother who just lost a child or for that matter the poor? Moltmann defines poor as “the hungry, the unemployed, the sick, the discouraged, and the sad and suffering. the poor are the subjected, oppressed and humiliated people.”[84] Within the body of Christ a Christian experiences current and future hope in that any present suffering encountered in the flesh is not foreign to the God of love as He embraces them and their suffering through the cross of Jesus Christ.

Solidarity in Suffering

The western world has created a culture that celebrates the richness of accomplishments and has forgotten the dichotomy of layered existence that includes poverty, brokenness, godforsakenness, and suffering. Moltmann maintains that God is not an impassible or immovable God because His passibility and involvement in human history and suffering reside at “very centre” and “history of Christ’s passion.[85] The belief of a Christian is enmeshed in the passion of Christ and its representation of the redemption of all peoples through His suffering, death, and resurrection. Moltmann asked four poignant questions “But how is God himself involved in the history of Christ’s passion?  How can the Christian faith understand Christ’s passion as being the revelation of God, if the deity cannot suffer? Does God just allow Christ to suffer for us? Alternatively, does God himself suffer in Christ on our behalf?”[86] 

The four questions pushed at the very existence the theological beliefs of Christianity that God is impassible.[87] Moltmann makes a pronounced declaration when he posits that if God is incapable of suffering, in fellowship with humanity, then the next step in the process leads to the logical conclusion that the death of Christ must be “viewed as a human tragedy” for Christ dies in the flesh as a human being (John 1:1-3). In addition to this view of Christ death being a tragic human event, Moltmann proposes that God is “bound to become [a] cold, silent unloved heavenly power” and negate the veracity of the Christian faith.[88]  Moltmann maintains that it is the dignity and resolve of “hope [that] prove its power. Hence eschatology [hope of future revelries, and present solidarity with a God of suffering who experienced His forsakenness that]. . . must formulate its statements of hope in contradiction to our present experience of suffering, evil, and death.”[89]

In describing Moltmann’s theology of God and His oneness with His creation, Schweitzer expressed that “The biblical witness . . . .describes God as being both internally related to the creation, affected by its existence [thus, affected by its suffering], and radically transcendent to it.”[90] Moltmann describes this oneness with the creation of the “world which is not God, but which none the less corresponds to him, God’s self-humiliation begins – the self-limitation of the One who is omnipresent and the suffering of the eternal love.”[91]

Moltmann continues by proposing that God’s relationship with His creation not be an outward expression of His love, but is in fact “an act of God [looking] inwardly [and reaching toward Himself after having reached out to man], which means that it is something that God suffers and endures.”[92] Moltmann suggests “For God, creation means self-limitation, the withdrawal of himself, that is to say self-humiliation [possibly self-imposed suffering to create a oneness with His creation?]”[93]

Moltmann stipulates a definitive understanding of God’s love for His creation [humanity] and the oneness embodied in suffering with them ”Creative love is always suffering love as well.”[94] Why would the Creator become a suffering Creator? Additionally, Moltmann proposes that “. . . . the creation is: at the same time the subjection of God to the sufferings that follow from it… If God appoints all these sufferings, they are also sufferings for God himself. “[95] Moltmann clarifies his conceptualization of God’s love for humanity by declaring that our refusal to surrender to the concept that God does not suffer projects an attitude that agrees with the principle that God’s “holy love” for us expressed in His willingness to “subject himself” to suffering on our behalf.[96]

In addition, Moltmann proposes that the problem of acceptance of God’s solidarity with humanity and its suffering is not an “intellectual one” because “we feel, we experience suffering differently if it is not something fortuitous, but [suffering] is part of the meaning of the world [in which we live, and God lives with us].” Succinctly stated Moltmann posits that God suffers as the “otherness of the other.”[97] Contrary to the theological thought of his time, Moltmann’s proclaims that redemption is encased in the “self-deliverance” of The Lord as he suffers “with and for the world.”[98] Consequently, Moltmann declares humanity also suffers with and for God.[99]

The ability to conceptualize this theological construct liberates the people of God futuristic eschatology of oneness with God and freedom from suffering to the next realization that they are suffering with God now and in communion with Him now as He suffers with them.[100] “The freedom from worry, restraint and self-abasement encapsulated in this theology is a sacrificial offering from God to and for His children.”[101] Moltmann completed this thought by declaring “. . . . the history of the profound fellowship between God and man in suffering – in compassionate suffering with one another, and in passionate love for one another” is actualized when humanity accepts this sacrifice of suffering.”[102] Moltmann summed up the importance of God’s ability to suffer by proposing

Were God incapable of suffering in any respect, and therefore in an absolute sense, then he would also be incapable of love. If love is the acceptance of the other without regard to one’s own well-being, then it contains within itself the possibility of sharing in suffering and freedom to suffer as a result of the otherness of the other. Incapability of suffering in this sense would contradict the fundamental Christian assertion that God is love, which in principle broke the spell of the Aristotelian doctrine of God. The one who is capable of love is also capable of suffering, for he also opens himself to the suffering which is involved in love, and yet remains superior to it by virtue of his love. The justifiable denial that God is capable of suffering because of a deficiency in his being may not lead to a denial that he is incapable of suffering out of the fullness of his being, i.e. his love.[103]

Although the eschatology of Christians is an affirmed concept, what does that concept look like when juxtaposed against the theology of a God who suffers by drawing His creation unto Himself? How does Moltmann resolve the doctrine of the last things with a God who suffers and sent and delivered Himself to suffer on the cross? This paper has presented an argument of God as a God who suffers by drawing into Himself the suffering of His children but is that all that He offers His children?

Present Hope Encased in the Suffering God

For centuries, the Christian hope cemented itself in the risen Lord who conquered death and the promised hope of a future event when all will rise to an immortal body transported to an eternal experience with the God of the future. Moltmann looks at the resurrection of The Lord and characterizes God as “the God who raises the dead.[104] Moltmann proposes that the future hope of the Christian, as stated by Paul in Galatians 1:1 and Romans 8:11 points to “creation of the end-time’ that is now dawning, it is not a futuristic event that flows in the “spirit of the resurrection of the dead guaranteed by the suffering, dead, risen and glorified God.”[105]

Moltmann sees the theology of the cross presented by both Paul and Mark as a theology of a crucified Christ [or as one crucified by God and as God] as opposed to just a risen Christ.[106] This action of a suffering God does not make Him a helpless God that has no bearing on the current eschatology of His children, but it does make Him a God who brought the future hope of His children into their present experience with Him by “giving up” His son.[107] Moltmann continues by positing that Pauline and Johannine theology encapsulated in (Ro 8:32; Gal 2:20; John 3:16; Eph 5:25) speak of the suffering and death of God as an expression of love and election.[108]  Moltmann shatters the eschatology of the early church by proclaiming the risen Jesus is “the present future of God and the new world [intermingled in the reality of His presence.][109]

Furthermore, Moltmann declares that eschatology is not a trendsetting, fortune-telling precursor of the future because the resurrected suffering God embodies the “presence of God’s promised future” in that He has delivered His creation from death and hell and has begun the process of the eternal inheritance now.[110] What does this mean for a suffering world? Moltmann proposes that it means “the end of godforsakenness . . . . now [here in this present life], and the beginning of a universal, liberating, and rejoicing of the living God in all things.”[111]

God’s children who suffer now do not suffer alone because He is here and His Kingdom mission is here with them as they suffer. Harvie iterates that Moltmann presents an eschatology of hope embedded with the suffering, crucified, and raised Jesus not as a hope that releases humanity from suffering into the escapism of another world, but hope for the “new creation of this world.”[112] Moltmann clearly emphasizes that Christian hope as he sees it deals with ‘the future of the very earth on which [Christ’s] cross stands.’ God did not suffer in vain, but out of love for His creation. His creation experiences the rewards of that love now and into the future. “Oh, what wondrous love is this oh, my soul!”[113]

Conclusion

Moltmann sees the suffering of Christ as God’s way of participating in our human despair, taking it into himself, and replacing it with hope. This research explored Moltmann’s theology of hope as presented through the suffering of Christ and God’s methodology of bringing His children unto Himself through suffering with and for them. A discussion ensued on Moltmann’s theology of hope encased in the suffering of the Godhead on the cross. Pivotal to the comprehension of Moltmann’s theology of the cross was the conceptualization of a passible God who, through suffering, reached into eternity present and the future and offered up Himself as a living sacrificial hope of release from the intensity of pain of His children.  In doing so, God experienced the immensity of human suffering, absolute abandonment, and Godforsakenness.

Moltmann presents a compelling case for the Trinitarian suffering and the outreach of the Trinity to humanity as it suffers to affect hope even in dire circumstances.  It is important to note that the suffering God does not allow humans to suffer out of incredulous spite or sadistic tendencies.  Sin is consistently at the door of humanity and suffering is the result of sin whether the individual’s sin or sin that was brought to bear through human actions.  However, Moltmann’s theology of hope, through the suffering of the cross, proffers hope for connectedness with the Godhead today even in one’s present sufferings. The joy of knowing that God so loved His children that He suffers with and for them not just two thousand years ago on the cross but today in their present circumstances expands eschatological thoughts of hope.

Moltmann does not dispel eschatological hope nor does he state that the theology of hope through the suffering Godhead is a neo-orthodoxical construct. Moltmann traced hope back to the cross and brought the cross, and the hope enmeshed in and through it, through the expanse of history to suffering people today as they embrace the solidarity of hope through the suffering Trinity.

Finally, As the body of Christ welcomes this construct of hope and love cocooned in the suffering God a solidarity of oneness with the Godhead ensues. The misconception that the Christian life is idyllic and pain-free is a misnomer.  Suffering presents itself as a means for Christians to reach upward to the Godhead and horizontally into society as it draws people into the hope offered by the suffering El Shaddai. Moltmann’s presentation of the actions of the Trinitarian Godhead calls humanity into the God family with a promise of never experiencing Godforsakenness because God is ever present in the suffering of His children and draws them closer to Him as He suffers with them.

 

 

Bibliography

Enns, Paul. The Moody Handbook of Theology. Revised and Expanded ed. Chicago: Moody, 2014, Google Books.

Gavrilyuk, Paul L. “The Christian God v. Passionate Pagan Deities: Impassibility as an Apophatic Qualifier of Divine Emotions.” In The Suffering of the Impassible God: The Dialectics of Patristic Thought, 1-23. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Harvie, Timothy. Ashgate New Critical Thinking in Religion, Theology and Biblical Studies: Jürgen Moltmann’s Ethics of Hope: Eschatological Possibilities for Moral Action. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2009. Accessed February 15, 2017. ProQuest Ebrary.

“In the Cross of Christ I Glory (No. 554).” In The Baptist Hymnal. Nashville: Convention Press, 1991.

Lee, Jung Young. God Suffers for Us: A Systematic Inquiry into a Concept of Divine Passibility. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1974.

Moltmann, Jürgen. A Broad Place: An Autobiography. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2009, Google Books.

________. The Crucified God. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015, Kindle.

________. Experiences in Theology: Ways and Forms of Christian Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000. Accessed February 20, 2017. Ezproxy Ebrary.

________. The Living God and Fullness of Life. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016, Google Books.

________. The Theology of Hope. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993, Google Books.

Moltmann, Jürgen, and Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel. Passion for God: Theology in Two Voices. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.

Moltmann, Jürgen. Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation & Criticism of Christian Theology. Translated by John Bowden. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993. Accessed February 22, 2017. Ezproxy Ebrary.

________. History and the Triune God: Contributions to Trinitarian Theology. Translated by John Bowden. New York: SCM, 1992.

________. How I Have Changed: Reflections on Thirty Years of Theology. Translated by John Bowden. Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 1998.

Moltmann, Jürgen. God for a Secular Society: The Public Relevance of Theology. Translated by Margaret Kohl. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005.

________. In the End — The Beginning: The Life of Hope. Translated by Margaret Kohl. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004. Accessed February 17, 2017. Ezproxy Ebrary.

________. Spirit of Life: A Universal Affirmation. Translated by Margaret Kohl. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001. Accessed March 2, 2017. Ezproxy Ebrary.

________. The Trinity and the Kingdom: The Doctrine of God. Translated by Margaret Kohl. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993. Accessed February 24, 2017. Ezproxy Ebrary.

________. Way of Jesus Christ: Christology in Messianic Dimensions. Translated by Margaret Kohl. Fortress Press, 1993. Accessed February 17, 2017. Ezproxy Ebrary.

Moltmann, Jürgen. Jürgen Moltmann: Collected Readings. Edited by Margaret Kohl and Richard Bauckham. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014.

Moltmann, Jürgen. Theology of Hope: On the Ground and the Implications of a Christian Eschatology. Translated by James W. Leitch. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993, Google Books. Accessed January 24, 2017.

Neal, Ryan A. Theology as Hope: On the Ground and Implications of Jürgen Moltmann’s Doctrine of Hope. Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2009, Google Books.

Saler, Robert Cady. Theologia Crucis: A Companion to the Theology of the Cross. Eugene: Cascade Books, 2017.

Schweitzer, Don. “Aspects of God’s Relationship to the World in the Theologies of Jurgen Moltmann, Bonaventure and Jonathan Edwards.” Religious Studies and Theology 26, no. 1 (June 1, 2007): 5-24. Accessed February 24, 2017. ProQuest Ebrary.

Scrutton, Anastasia Philippa. “Chapter 7.” In Continuum Studies in Philosophy of Religion Series: Thinking Through Feelings: God, Emotion and Passibility, 184-87. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. Accessed February 17, 2017. ProQuest Ebrary.

“The Solid Rock. (No. 406). ” In The Baptist Hymnal. Nashville: Convention Press, 1991.

“What Wondrous Love Is This? (No. 143).” In The Baptist Hymnal. Nashville: Convention Press, 1991.

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the King James Version (Public Domain).

[2] Jürgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope: On the Ground and the Implications of a Christian Eschatology, trans. James W. Leitch (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993, Google Books), 7.

[3] Jürgen Moltmann, A Broad Place: An Autobiography (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2009, Google Books), 17.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid., 19-26.

[6] Moltmann, A Broad Place, 29-30.

[7] Moltmann, A Broad Place, 31; 35Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015, Kindle), Loc. 58; Jürgen Moltmann and Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel, Passion for God: Theology in Two Voices (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 70.

[8] Ibid., 27

[9] Ps. 39 as cited by Moltmann in A Broad Place. No version of the Bible was cited by Moltmann for the citation of this Scripture.

[10] Ibid., 29; Jürgen Moltmann, In the End — The Beginning: The Life of Hope, trans. Margaret Kohl (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004), 35, accessed February 17, 2017, Ezproxy Ebrary.

[11] Ibid. Mark 15:34.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Jürgen Moltmann, How I Have Changed: Reflections on Thirty Years of Theology, trans. John Bowden (Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 1998), 14-15.

[15] Moltmann, Theology of Hope: On the Ground, 163-164.

[16] Jung Young Lee, God Suffers for Us: A Systematic Inquiry into a Concept of Divine Passibility (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1974), 11.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid., 12.

[19] Lee, God Suffers for, 11.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Lee, God Suffers for, 11.

[22] Anastasia Philippa. Scrutton, “Chapter 7,” in Continuum Studies in Philosophy of Religion Series: Thinking Through Feelings: God, Emotion and Passibility (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), 184-187, accessed February 17, 2017, ProQuest Ebrary.

[23] The intent of this paper is not to argue for the construct of passibility or corporeality versus incorporeality.  However; for a more detailed explanation of the concepts see J. K. Mozley, The Impassibility of God: A Survey of Christian Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1926), p. 128; Bertrand R. Brasnett, The Suffering of the Impassible God (London: S. P. C. K., 1928); Paul L. Gavrilyuk, “The Christian God v. Passionate Pagan Deities: Impassibility as an Apophatic Qualifier of Divine Emotions,” in The Suffering of the Impassible God: The Dialectics of Patristic Thought (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 1-23; Scrutton, “Chapter 1,” 1-35.

[24] Scrutton, “Chapter 7,” in Continuum, 187.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Jürgen Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation & Criticism of Christian Theology, trans. John Bowden (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993), xi, accessed February 22, 2017, Ezproxy Ebrary; Neal proffers a detailed explanation of this construct in Ryan A. Neal, Theology as Hope: On the Ground and Implications of Jürgen Moltmann’s Doctrine of Hope (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2009, Google Books), 47.

[27] Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross, 4.

[28]  ” Divine passibility, especially the type (voluntary) that Moltmann espouses, ensures hope is found in suffering, because God takes up all suffering,” Neal, Theology as Hope, 52.

[29] Ibid., 47.

[30] Ibid. Inversely does this mean that because of the “indwelling of God” within His children He experiences the same intensity of their suffering too? Moltmann implies just that in Jürgen Moltmann: Collected Readings, ed. Margaret Kohl and Richard Bauckham (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014, Kindle), Loc. 4201.

[31] Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology, Revised and Expanded ed. (Chicago: Moody, 2014, Google Books), 853.

[32] Neal, Theology as Hope, 47.

[33] Jürgen Moltmann, The Living God and Fullness of Life (Louisville: Westminster John Know Press, 2016, Google Books), 45-46. Moltmann responds to the theology of impassibility with, “How then can we know so exactly what God cannot do when we assert that “God cannot alter” and that “God cannot suffer?” In reply to the second question we can reply-If God is incapable of suffering-what is what happens to be of Concern to God?”

[34] Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross, xi.; Robert Cady. Saler, Theologia Crucis: A Companion to the Theology of the Cross (Eugene: Cascade Books, 2017), 1-3.

[35] Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross, ix. Moltmann poses this question in Experiences in Theology: Ways and Forms of Christian Theology (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000), 304-305.” What does the cross of the Son of God mean for God himself?” Moltmann answers the question with “And I came face to face with the pain of the Father of Jesus Christ who suffered with him. If Christ dies with the cry of profoundest God-forsakenness, then in God the Father there must be a correspondingly profound experience of forsakenness by the Son. If the Son suffers his death on the cross not just as a human death but also as an eternal death of God-forsakenness, and thus as ‘the death of God’, then – or so we must conclude – the God whom he always called ‘Abba, dear Father’ suffers the death of his Son and the deadly tornness of his own heart and eternal being.”

[36] Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross, 251.

[37] Ibid., Enns, The Moody Handbook, 853.

[38] Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross, 251.

[39] Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross, 251.

[40] Enns, The Moody Handbook, 875.

[41] Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross, 204.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross, 204.

[45] Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross, 204.

[46] Neal, Theology as Hope: On, 158-59.

[47] Jürgen Moltmann, Way of Jesus Christ: Christology in Messianic Dimensions, trans. Margaret Kohl (Fortress Press, 1993), 173, accessed February 17, 2017, Ezproxy Ebrary.

[48] Moltmann, Theology of Hope, On Grounds, 21.

[49] Jürgen Moltmann, God for a Secular Society: The Public Relevance of Theology, trans. Margaret Kohl (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 21.

[50] Jürgen Moltmann, History and the Triune God: Contributions to Trinitarian Theology, trans. John Bowden (New York: SCM, 1992), as quoted in Timothy Harvie, Ashgate New Critical Thinking in Religion, Theology and Biblical Studies: Jürgen Moltmann’s Ethics of Hope: Eschatological Possibilities for Moral Action. (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2009), 26, accessed February 15, 2017, ProQuest Ebrary.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Moltmann, A Broad Place, 31; Matthew 27:51 declared And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent. The wall of separation melted at the foot of the cross as God reached down into humanity and drew all individuals into Himself during His time of colossal suffering.

[53] “The Solid Rock” (No. 406) and “In the Cross of Christ I Glory (No. 554), in The Baptist Hymnal (Nashville: Convention Press, 1991).

[54] Moltmann, A Broad Place, 31.

[55] Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross, 204.

[56] Ibid.

[57] Ibid., 243.

[58] Ibid., 246.

[59] Moltmann, The Trinity and, 59.

[60] Harvie, Ashgate New Critical Thinking in, 101.

[61] Ibid., 104-107.

[62] Moltmann, The Trinity and, 59.

[63] Ibid., 23.

[64] Ibid.

[65] Ibid.

[66] Jürgen Moltmann, Spirit of Life: A Universal Affirmation, trans. Margaret Kohl (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001), 73, accessed March 2, 2017, Ezproxy Ebrary.

[67] Ibid.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Jürgen Moltmann, Spirit of Life, 73.

[70] Jürgen Moltmann, Spirit of Life, 77.

[71] Ibid.

[72] Ibid., 76.

[73] Ibid.

[74] Ibid.

[75] Moltmann, The Trinity and, 23.

[76] Ibid.

[77] Ibid.

[78] Ibid.

[79] Ibid.

[80] Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross, 47

[81] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison: The Enlarged Edition (London: SCM Press, 1971), 360, quoted in Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross, 47.

[82] Ibid.,

[83] Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers, 47.

[84] Jürgen Moltmann, Way of Jesus Christ: Christology in Messianic Dimensions, trans. Margaret Kohl (Fortress Press, 1993), 100, accessed February 17, 2017, Ezproxy Ebrary.

[85] Jürgen Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom: The Doctrine of God, trans. Margaret Kohl (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993), 21; 60, accessed February 24, 2017, Ezproxy Ebrary.

[86] Jürgen Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom, 21-22.

[87] Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers, 19.

[88] Ibid., 22.

[89] Moltmann, Theology of Hope, On Grounds, 44.

[90] Don Schweitzer, “Aspects of God’s Relationship to the World in the Theologies of Jürgen Moltmann, Bonaventure and Jonathan Edwards,” Religious Studies and Theology 26, no. 1 (June 1, 2007): 5, accessed February 24, 2017, ProQuest Ebrary.

[91] Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom, 59.

[92] Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom, 59.

[93] Ibid., 60.

[94] Ibid.

[95] Ibid., 61.

[96] Ibid., 61.

[97] Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross, 230.

[98] Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom, 60.

[99] Ibid.

[100] Ibid.

[101] Ibid.

[102] Ibid.

[103] Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross, 230.

[104] Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross, 188.

[105] Ibid., 189.

[106] Ibid., 190.

[107] Ibid., 193.

[108] Moltmann, Crucified God: The Cross, 193.

[109] Jürgen Moltmann, “The Presence of God’s Future: The Risen Christ,” Anglican Theological Review 89, no. 4 (Fall 2007): 578, accessed February 24, 2017, ProQuest Ebrary.

[110] Moltmann, The Presence of God’s, 578-579.

[111] Ibid.

[112] Harvie, Ashgate New Critical Thinking in, 24.

[113] “What Wondrous Love Is This” (No. 143) in The Baptist Hymnal (Nashville: Convention Press, 1991).

Relational choices.

God has promised, and told His children, that all they have to do is believe in Him. When we do that we will have “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,- Isaiah 30:15. However, we choose every day to “In repentance an” rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. — Isaiah 30:15. I learned years ago that my introverted personality was preventing me from having relationships with people who stretched me. I chose to live in an emotional closet. I closed the door to the resolution of conflicts. I lived and loved freely and because of that choice, I got hurt frequently. I blocked out extroverts and their “spatial and emotional chatter from my life. I had contact with them, I worked with them, I supported then but they were emotionally pushed out of my concentric circle and circle of influence.  The addressed this with me in a real way. I found myself on the other side of a work situation that just blew my mind. My attitude of totally trusting people regardless of their behavior toward me almost cost me my career. I finally had to choose to handle conflict. Choose to speak to people about their sometimes inappropriate hurtful behavior. Then I had to determine if speaking to them would do more harm than good,  It the Lord revealed to me that speaking to them would emotionally unravel them, then I left it up to Him to deal with them.  If someone’s body language and facial expressions told me that what they saying to me was not true, I had a choice. Ignore the expressive and verbal dissonance or address it.

I also realized that I can rely on God to give me the words and or strength to handle conflict or I can determine that I am in control of me and not Him! The day I realized that relationships and conflict resolution became easier. Taking the high road became easier. Loving people, even after they have verbally tried to strip me emotionally, became easier. Why, because I know now that I am not responsible for their verbal utterances they are. I also know that God heard what they said to me and was just as hurt about the words uttered to me as I was. We all reap what we sow-either physically or verbally. Making excuses for refusing to be obedient to God’s word is not acceptable. That was the last lesson I learned and the last choice that I had to make.  That one is one that is practised daily.  So, my dear friends who are introverts like me, we can continue to live in emotional closets that exclude others, or we can rely on the strength of the Lord to stretch us and deal with the emotional things that bind us.

I am blessed!

#blessed
With all the challenges of life sometimes we forget that God does not measure out His love for us in dribs and drabs. Even when we have sinned He still calls us “blessed.”
Bask in that knowledge today when your faith is tested and you feel like a failure.

Fear not!

#HeiswithUs
Know that during these turbulent times we have become overly concerned about who will protect us. God’s Word declares that if His people fill humbly pray to Him He will hear from heaven. Fear not God has got our backs! He is the only one who has absolute power.

An advocate,

 

#sinnot
Our father cares. He gives us the ability to live Din green lives through the Holy Spirit!

Chosen-to worship and lead.

We are all chosen for a purpose.  A purpose that only we can fulfill. Don’t try to be someone God did not create you to be. Discover your spiritual gift and live by it.  Walk by faith and believe that He is always with us. Sing His Praises and Worship the King most high because you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Give thanks

 

Giving thanks to my lLord for the ho He is and all He had done!
#thankuLord

For in Him All Things were Created.

 

 

Sometimes we forget that it is the Lord who created situations that lead to individuals being in positions of leaderships. Sometimes they are placed in those positions to teach the people of God a lesson about who they are and that they are not their own – they belong to The Almighty God. They belong to the maker of the universe and should act accordingly. Sometimes they are placed in positions of leadership to teach the individual that there is only one God – and they are not that God.

Many times we forget this and make ourselves God. The one who condemns God’s people instead of lifting them up in their times of weakness. Or the one who refuses to see their own ways that may be making and or creating conflict. Or the one who chooses to hold grudges by withholding compassion and love from the objects our disdain for a person who is in authority over us. I have to remind myself of this fact on a regular basis. We are all human and as such subject to allowing our humanity to govern our behavior instead of the spirit of God.

Sometimes rulers are placed in positions of leadership to teach the individual that there is only one God – and they are not that God. Egos get in the way of God’s guidance and disaster ensues. The books of Isaiah and Amos are God’s reminder to His people Israel of the poor choices that they have made and the disgraceful behavior of their leaders, but they also talk about the punishment reaped by the consequences of sin. Yes, we have salvation from the Lord. Yes, we have forgiveness of our sins, but we live with the consequences of those sins. There is no condemnation of those who are in Christ Jesus. But that does not give is a license to sin.  We must always be mindful of who is truly in charge of our lives, and the who place rulers in positions of leadership.  What can we do when their behavior distresses us? Pray What do we do if we are the leaders who are oppressive in nature? Pray, repent, believe in forgiveness and strive for the Holy Spirit to master our human nature (Galatians 5:16) and pray for our thought life, our vocal expressions, and written expression to be taken captive by God and demonstrated the living lives of obedience to Him (2 Corinthians 10:5). Finally, brethren remember that God chooses rulers, in all positions of leadership. In the church, in government, and in our homes. Trust Him that he has made the right choice and live accordingly.

We are lights-shine His love into a world filled with darkness!

 

Webster’ definition of light is poignant.

a :  spiritual illuminationthe light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it — John 1:5 (Revised Standard Version

With this definition in mind, how does the unsaved world see us? When we participate in social media does our presence make the newsfeed a better place or are we just a part of the conundrum that permeates social media with mindless twaddle? Are we shining examples of Christ’s love for all of humanity or have we become so engrossed in all things worldly that our light is not a bright as a firefly? For even on the blackest night, a firefly can still be seen. We must be seen as sources of spiritual light that illuminate the world in the midst of the darkness, hatred, self-loving and others debasing world in which we live. Now is the time for us to be the “priceless” bride of Christ standing up for that which is right in the sight of the Lord not society, or a political ideology. The church has become so intertwined itself into the fabric of society that we have forgotten our first love for the Lord, His word, His mission, His Kingdom purpose and His desire for all men to come to know Him. We are snuffing out our own candlestick like the church in Ephesus. We cannot fix our community. No politician can fix our communities. Only Jesus can transform lives thus transforming communities, counties, states, and nations. Be light, be salt, be Jesus in your nation. We live at a time where the darkness of the devil is attempting to envelop the world and the people of God are panicking and looking for men to solve a spiritual problem! Our purpose in this mayhem? Be light, Be Love, Be Jesus, Share His love for humanity instead of the indifference and hatred that is openly embracing nations across the world.

Love is not optional!

Scripture is very clear about our responsibility toward our brothers and sisters. Yet we demonstrate behaviors that are completely opposite to this Scripture. We hold outlier groups of people is disdain and name them as deplorable:

  1. Republicans
  2. Democrats
  3. Libertarians
  4. Alcoholics
  5. Drug Addicts
  6. Abortionists – and people who have had an abortion
  7. Gays – dare I say that most Christians demonstrate that they are homophobic.
  8. Blacks
  9. Whites
  10. Arabic
  11. Muslims

The horrible things that I have seen written and said against the above people groups have been the most despicable things that I have ever seen in my entire life. Our eyes are so covered with the social and political scales of our times that we have forgotten that this world is NOT our home and that we are citizens of the Kingdom of God first. We are the children of God first. No man, religious affiliations, or political ideology should ever be given the “worship” that belongs to God. Do not confuse what I am saying. We must respect those who lead and rule over us wherever we live. However, we can never make them our god, or people whom we worship. They will fail us. Our responsibility to our earthly leaders?

1 Timothy 2:1-3 (NKJV): Pray for All Men

 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.

Our responsibility to all human beings on the face of the earth?

1 Peter 2: 11-17

11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims [for this earth is not our home], abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, [by the way that we behave among men- it should be different from the unsaved not the save as the unsaved] which they shall behold, [ and because of this difference that they see they will] glorify God in the day of visitation.

13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: [The right to defame the name of a political leader is not one that we have as Christians-it is the opposite of what God expects from us] whether it be to the king, as supreme;14 Or unto governors,[this Scriptures makes it clear that God’s word is ageless] as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: [this is why we must be circumspect is what we say and do in social media. When our rants and raves becomes as inflammatory as that of people who do not know God them we are demonstrating that we do not love our brothers and sisters or all men. For how can we say that we love God when hatred is in our hearts toward any human being?] As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, [over the last 8.5 years I have witnesses maliciousness at a level I have never seen before in the USA] but  [live] as the servants of God. HOW 17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king [or leader].

The world must know that we are Christians by the words that come out of our mouth or from our fingers. We must be different. We must love people, not their sins, because they are individuals created in the image of God.

https://youtu.be/7CobNWUXb1M

Happy Friday

#blessings

Love is Kind!

#loveneverexcludes
Agape love is not partial. It loves all of humanity- even the enemy.

https://youtu.be/geVbSntnOd8
Choose to love like Jesus!

Is there no God in Israel/The Church?

The King of Israel was in trouble. He was ill. He needed to know what the future held fo him. Instead of calling on the Almighty he went to a foreign God. It was an insult to the Almighty. He sent His prophet to pronounce judgment on the King of Israel.  I listened to this king’s tenure as ruler of Israel and when I got to this Scripture immediately I considered the numerous ways that we – as Christians – do exactly the same thing.  We go to psychics when we need answers instead of God. We will ask electronic apps for guidance instead of God. We will look to horoscopes for our daily “fortunes” instead of God. We will take those fortune cookies as a message from God instead of His holy Word. God does not look kindly on His children when we give the authority over our lives to anything and anyone other than Him.  We tend to do that with pastors, priests, rabbis, self-defined prophets, and so many others who have set themselves up as a conduit between God and His people. We forget that when Christ died on the cross the veil was ripped into two parts. The wall of separation between God and His people disappeared. They no longer needed a go-between. Christ stands as our intercessors between us and God. No human being can forgive sin, predict our lives, and or predict the will of God over our lives.  Only God is supreme. Let us ensure that we do not make the mistake that the King of Israel made in this Scripture.

Meaningless and Worthless worship.

#worshipinspiritandtruth

God’s word is clear about acceptable worship practices. Worship is not something we do on Sunday mornings because it is the tradition of the church. It is something we do 7 days a week and it is supposed to be part of who we are as a Christian. When all we do is open a book turn to page blah, blah, blah, and speed through the words and music on the pages. Then go to the next page and repeat the process we are not worshipping. God forbid that someone chooses a song from the same book that a person may not have sung before – it becomes an act of treason – well almost! No, my dear ones when we participate in congregational worship we are coming together as members of the family of God to lift up our hearts to Him through song, giving, reading, listening, and living out the words He has shared with us through His servant. It is not supposed to be a same old, same old, got to get out of here so we can go to wherever for Sunday lunch with my friends and family, or so I can go to the beach!

Worship is not supposed to be ritualistic. It must come from the heart. It must be spirit led, it must be done in reverence to God or it is just another “Going through the motions” thing that we do one day per week.

We were created to worship our creator in every facet of our lives.

In our relationships with others. In how we conduct ourselves on our jobs, in the supermarket, in the McDonald’s line when the person at the cash register is going as slow as molasses in January. In our behavior on social media-we are the only Jesus that the social media world sees – what are we showing them? We worship him in the words that we allow to rumble around in our heads all day long. Why? because our thoughts impact in how we respond to the act of worship through singing, giving, and the reading of His word on Sunday mornings.

How do we prepare ourselves for worship on Sunday morning? Is it something that we do at the last-minute, maybe Sunday morning on the way to church? Is worship considered something that is “preventing” us from “doing life” and is worship an intrusion on how we do life? Is preparing to worship something that is placed on the back burner until we have done “everything” else we want to do? I learned a long time ago that anything that I put before God has become my God – that included my family. Worship is in honor of part of our relationship with the Almighty. If I am so busy every single minute of every single day that I do not have time to worship my creator then something is wrong with my vertical relationship with Him. He has to come first before my job, my husband, my children, by aspirations, or they all become my God and serving Him becomes something I have to do because one day I said “the Sinner’s Prayer” and someone said going to church every Sunday shoes that I am a Christian.

Loving God enough to put him first in my life is my act of worship. Then everything else flows from that. I won’t whine when I am asked to learn to read from a different translation of the Bible or serve in my congregation – because my act of service is not for the congregation it is for God! I won’t be flippant in carrying our my act of service in my congregation because I will understand that is part of how I serve and worship Him. I will not put my service in my congregation responsibilities on the back burner until Saturday night or even Sunday morning because God should never be an afterthought in my life. Yes, He expects me to live life. He will give me the time and ability to do everything I need to do as I put Him first in my life. Worshiping God with the words that come out of my mouth but not with my actions and my time is empty and meaningless worship.

As a person who has sung on a worship team, or choir, for decades, I have looked out into the congregation and have seen those faces. I started to worship with my eyes closed for that reason. I want to worship in spirit and in truth when I am leading or part of a team that is leading, congregational worship. I could not do that with faces looking back at me that sent messages of disinterest. Worship is an integral part of my life and has been for some time. I cannot imagine going through a 24 hour period of time without reaching out to my Father in some act of worship.

We seriously need to get back to the heart of worship the way God wants it to be. When we do that we will not just stand there in our congregational worship service with a face that says “I don’t want to be here. I hate being here. I am moving my lips but this is meaningless to me. My heart, spirit, and soul are not participating in this!” Worship the King of King and the Lord of Lords with all that you have and you will see how your spirit feels at the end of that time of worship. Do it every day and we will see how our outlook on life changes. Our need to be somewhere, and do something to make us feel better will begin to change.

I don’t ever want the Lord to say this of me.

Isaiah 29:13 ” Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men”

Giving by showing His love.

This kind of giving is without fanfare!
#GiveasHeHasGiven

How to live at peace with each other during these turbulent times.

 

 

Romans 12  (KJV)

12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Bodies that are not polluted in mind, spirit or soul by the rhetoric that society ahs infiltrated into the church as an acceptable response to social morays. Guard our hearts and mind.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

If we are acting like and responding like the world to the troubles of this world using the words of the world to respond to the challenges of this world. Pleading for our pound of flesh like they world. Condemning people. places, things, ideologies without gaining the fact like the world then how are we demonstrating transformation.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Are we applying this principle to the sufferings of the 40,000 million people who will be without health insurance and will die because they have pre-existing conditions or are we thinking soberly about being our brothers’ keeper?

Christian Leadership is demonstrated in the verses below.

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Not separated by political agendas but joined in spirit and in truth by the Holy Spirit.

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Using our gifts for the enhancement of the Church of the Living God not the political machine that is dividing our nation. We must standout as different. We must be the walking, talking Jesus on the sermon on the mount of folks – especially people who are looking for a place where belonging means they can mess  up and still experience warmth and love,

Our daily walking orders from God our Father is Simple

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 1Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

How many times have people with need been ignored so we may going on our merry way and entertain ourselves? We live in a culture that says “The Weekend is Mine for me to have some Me Time!” But what happens to the fellowshipping of the saint when the church becomes a scattergram after the sermon and the call to the alter is over?  How do we build relationships when we are not talking to each other, getting to know each other. How do we rejoice with each other when a social “How are your doing?” is the only communication we have with each other. How do people ground in an environment when all they here is what is wrong with them or what they are doing.

13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

HOW DO WE HANDLE CONFLICT?

  1. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
  2. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
  3. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another

I have seen a pattern in social media that is disturbing to me. We will post “Get well son” or “you are in my prayers” etc., on the pages of people we have known for a while or sometimes people whom we want to impress. But we consistently ignore  the people we may be ticked off with or whom we consider “lesser” beings in out mind.  We may not be willing to admit this. But we don’t get to choose who we will pray for. We pray for everyone-even our enemies.

  1. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
  2. 17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 

Demonstrate agape love with all men. All is very inclusive. It is not at all exclusive.  This is where we must set aside our petty grievances, our passive aggressive patterns of behavior and pretend that all is well when it is not. This is when we institute the guidelines for conflict resolution in Matthew. Take your issues with your brother to your brother instead of to someone whom your believe “will handle-your brother and the problem for you.”  It is hard to tell a person that they must address the problem themselves rather than use a third pattern to be their battering ram. How can we live at peace when we will not initiate peace ourselves.

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Does this Scripture apply to our enemies in 2017? If God is the all powerful god in whom we believe. I believe that it does.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Weapons do not bring a about resolutions and our make a nation powerful. GOD DOES!

https://youtu.be/geVbSntnOd8

Being different is costly, but it’s worth it!

I remember once when I told some folks that jokes are ok, but distasteful jokes do not become a Christian. They were highly offended and basically left. Any stories that match the biblical description below should not be said, typed, written or viewed by us. When I was younger I had no clue what this really meant. Thanks to YouTube, FB, and twitter I now know what that means 🙂 We can lose our witness when we participate in jokes that deliver a punchline that embodies any of the statements in this scripture.

18698247_10155231716554277_5710212142190287686_n

Lewdness is a commonality in our world. When we stand up against it may cost us many friends. But our hearts will be right with God. Be careful what you watch, listen, to and participate in. But it is only a joke, what difference does it make. Garbage in garbage out! Guard your minds friends!

Being different is costly.

I remember once when I told some folks that jokes are ok, but distasteful jokes do not become a Christian. They were highly offended and basically left. Any stories that match the biblical description below should not be said, typed, written or viewed by us. When I was younger I had no clue what this really meant. Thanks to YouTube, FB, and twitter I now know what that means 🙂 We can lose our witness when we participate in jokes that deliver a punchline that embodies any of the statements in this scripture.

18698247_10155231716554277_5710212142190287686_n

Lewdness is a commonality in our world. When we stand up against it may cost us many friends. But our hearts will be right with God.

Be careful what you watch, listen, to and participate in. But it is only a joke, what difference does it make. Garbage in garbage out! Guard your minds friends!

 

Trust!

#WeshowtrustinGod
When we practice trust with our brothers and sisters. We trust Him to guide our understanding as we develop relationships with others. Being a family means that we are a member of a group of people who are linked to one father figure. He is our Father. Trusting Him is demonstrated in our relationships with our family members. Go out today and glory in His presence as you live in trust and love!

Previous Older Entries

You’re Not the Only One

is a ministry of
Four Fast Friends LLC

You're Not the Only One
PO Box 968
Hardeeville SC 29927

Support this ministry!