Tag Archives: Made in the Image of God

Negative Filters

Advent
December 15, 2017

Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
–1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

We live in a world that wants to blame others, castigate others, judge others to solve its problems. Perhaps we would reap more positive results if we plumbed deep within ourselves seeking God’s sanctification. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Sanctify* means:

  1. to make sacred or holy-set apart to a sacred purpose or to religious use: consecrate, hallow
  2. to make free from sin: cleanse from moral corruption and pollution: purify
  3. to impart or impute sacredness, inviolability, title to reverence, venerability, or
  4. to make efficient as the means of holiness: make productive of holiness or piety

We rarely if ever are capable of changing another person. With God’s help, we can change ourselves. Each of us has a set of filters, some stronger than others, that color the way we view the world around us. These filters become a part of our mentality from the moment we are born. Hopefully, the first filter is one that says we are loved and wanted. Many filters are good and provide shortcuts for our brains, so we do not need to start every action or interaction from scratch. Some filters are not good. It is these filters that’s removal is necessary for us to each serve God productively.

I love item four above. We do not realize how much effort we waste by allowing those negative filters to rule our lives. Our negative filters obstruct our attempts to love God and love as Jesus loves because they incorrectly define the person we are striving to love. The only definition of any other person that matters is their creation in the image of God. When we judge another by any other criteria, our love cannot be productive. Particularly when we feel the need to force others to be like us before we can care for or about them, we fail God.

Prayer: God, forgive us when we pull away from you in search of things that will never satisfy our needs.  Make us whole so that we can fully become the people you created us to be. Cleanse us and make us your productive servants. Amen.

*http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com/unabridged/Sanctify

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

The Power of Love

Power of loveAdvent
December 5, 2015

Scripture Reading: Luke 3:1-6

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, –Luke 3:1-3

Luke apparently felt it was important to establish the exact timing of John’s entrance onto the stage of the coming of Jesus based on Luke’s assessment of those who were thought to hold power at the time. A Roman Emperor, a territorial Roman governor, a Jewish ruler, and influential religious leaders all made the list. John, the Baptist, apparently did not put much stock in such leaders. His call was for the people to repent to turn around, to receive forgiveness for the world was about to change before their very eyes.

I cannot remember a time in my life when it has been more important for common people to take up the message of turning around, receiving forgiveness, and taking up the task of changing the world through the power of love not war or any violence or power or wealth. Those of us who live in the USA actually already have the avenues in place to make such a move. The real question may be whether we truly believe love is stronger than fear and more powerful than violence. I would challenge us today to wonder if we truly want the very best for everyone in the world or if we want to reserve just a little more for ourselves than some others. This challenge comes because the answer to the first question about love is answered in our response to the challenge.

The sad truth is that as long as any of us wants to be better than others of us, all of us will be worth-less.

Prayer: God whose image is imprinted in every heart of every person on this earth, teach us to love each other. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.