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  • # 2 God on Trial

    "In the beginning was God" (literally "Elohim"--plural--there is one God and three beings fill that position. So I refer to Them as They--Abba [aka Father], Adonai [aka Jesus], Ruach [aka Holy Spirit].

    We were created in love, and for love, but free to choose against it—this was God's blueprint for the universe, and this was our beginning.

    Lucifer, in becoming Satan, had defected, had lied, had introduced doubt, and had seduced a human to choose to "…be like God and know what They know,” breaking the genetic code for the whole human race.

    God could not force them back. Force is contrary to Their character and government.

    Love cannot be forced; it can only be awakened by love.

    But knowing our vulnerability, when God ("Elohim") decided on our creation, Adonai* had offered a remedy since love and freedom had already been challenged. If humans failed, He would become a human and succeed. Then disadvantaged, broken, dual-natured beings could still see, experience, and choose God’s love.**

    Satan's purpose was to separate God from man. Succeeding with the first two, he worked to twist our perception of God into anger and fear, or distract us with pleasure.

    However, separation from God brought suffering, and the suffering made us look for God. Even though Satan blamed it on God.

    If one of Them became a man (Jesus), He could enter our world without destroying us. Attraction to Jesus, believing that God is like Him, would reunite us with God, transforming us.

    So Elohim put God on trial.*** And Adonai volunteers to become Jesus the expert witness. His life and his willingness to suffer and die will show the effect of unselfishness (God's love and true character), the effect of selfishness (Lucifer's true character), and the effect of evil (sin or separation from God) causes death.

    *Exodus 6:3 (footnote in the Masoretic text) Adonai is the one (of "Elohim"--Three who fill the position of God) who became our sovereign messenger and later became Jesus. **Ephesians 1:1-10 ***Romans 3:4

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  • Know God in a Year # 1 God's Problem

    Why would God come here?

    And how could He?

    If He'd had to discontinue the warm hugs, the harmonious conversations, the affectionate laughter of Eden, so His presence wouldn’t cause death to Adam and Eve, how could He be “God with us”?

    And why would He want to?

    Remember the perfect world God created? When God says something is “Very good,” it’s incredible!

    But an enemy was present.

    A beautiful creature, Lucifer, had become unsatisfied with being God's perfect work. He wanted to be God.* Long before us, he began to separate himself from God and launch a deceptive movement to boost hiscampaign. Sin started in God's home.

    Lucifer (later, Satan) became consumed with his own beauty and jealous of God's power. He hinted against Love and caused doubt about God and His way of governing, eventually resulting in war. His evil deception fooled and ruined many of his own kind and spread to ours.

    God had a problem. Who He IS had been challenged, His character sabotaged.

    But He was ready.

    He had chosen to create beings who were capable of reason and choice because He wanted love and freedom. God’s one desire was to have children who love Him and each other. Only love that is chosen is true love. If choice is required, there must be real freedom where choices are honored.

    So He wasn't surprised, just sad. But He was prepared with a plan.

    *Isaiah 14;12-17, Ezekiel 28:12-17

    My new series Love's Playbook tells this story in episode 1 The Real Story of Cosmic Love and War and is available at http://amazon/Loves Playbook-Real-Story-Cosmic in both paper and kindle.

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  • Introduction to God-in-a-Box--Your Inbox

    Do you ever want more from life? Ever feel empty? A longing for you-don't-know-what?

    It really isn't a malfunction. God put that in you to lead you to Him--the One who satisfies.

    Years ago I read a book touted to be the #1 book on Jesus' life in the U.S. Library of Congress. But it was old. Notwithstanding its beauty, the words were 19th century--difficult usage and syntax. It was also long. The intro says its purpose is to show Jesus' beauty and draw people into a "face to face" and "heart to heart" experience with the "One who satisfies all longing."

    I did fall in love with Jesus, the desire of hearts. But when I had kids I couldn't get them to read it--it was too hard. Yet its picture of God was like a long, cool drink of water on a hot day--totally worth the effort. I have also discovered that staying satisfied takes a continual connection with God. (Yep, you need Him every day--just like water.)

    So I decided to bring you spiritually thirsty ones the book I love, The Desire of Ages, about The God-Man I love, distilled into short bytes, set up to come to your inbox Monday through Friday. My commitment is to keep each about 250 words (give or take a few--about this long) so you have time to really soak in and meditate on them.

    Experience Jesus, the One who came to show us God--the Greatest Giver, Love in a Man.

    Sign up at http://Godhelps.net/God-in-a-Box and God, The Man, will come to you daily, free, of course.

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  • # 259 The End and the Beginning

    And so ends our journey through the life of Jesus. For a year we've walked with Him who gave us the best and clearest picture of God ever shared with humanity--"God with us".

    I hope you know God better, have fallen in love with Him through Jesus, and see the larger view of the war between good and evil. God won, even though it isn't over. If you'd like to know more about that--the rise of evil in a perfect creation--see the link below.*

    April 23 "God-in-a-Box--Your Inbox" will start again. If you know anyone who would like to follow it, tell them! We are also on facebook as God in your Face.**

    This Easter to Easter cycle is difficult because every year it's different, but it's accurate because there are reasons to believe Jesus was actually born in the spring--for instance shepherds were with their flocks in the field at night, and Romans were requiring people to travel and register for a census.

    If you'd like to go through it again, we'd love to have you along. If you're signed up, do nothing--it will automatically come again. (I think.) If you aren't signed up, it's easy and free, sign up here if you want it to come to your email inbox. There is also an RSS icon for your toolbar.

    Thanks for joining me to walk through what I believe is the most important and beautiful life ever lived.

    *my book Love's Playbook episode 1 tells that story and is available through Amazon http://www.amazon.com Check out the other episodes of Love's Playbook: the Bible from a cosmic-war, good-God, family perspective! Episode 6 just came out.

    **http://Godhelps.net OR http://911forsoldiers.wordpress.com OR facebook's God in Your Face

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  • #258 The Party of all Parties

    The City of God overflows with music and shouts of triumph, joy, and praise, as Jesus' entourage gets close. All of heaven is waiting to welcome Jesus and those he's taking back as first-fruits--those who were resurrected with him.

    Commanders, rulers and representatives from unfallen worlds are there to welcome Him home, eager to honor Jesus and celebrate His victory over Satan, evil, and death. Man has been restored! He can come home!

    As they approach, the escorting angels shout, "Lift up your heads you gates, you everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in."

    Joyfully the waiting group responds, "Who is this King of Glory?" Not because they don't know, but because they love hearing it.

    "The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle!..." rings the answer.

    What a thought! Mighty in battle by laying down his power!

    As they sweep in through the gates the atmosphere is charged with joy, accompanied by unbelievable music, singing and shouting. A gorgeous crown and robe are brought, but Jesus, disregarding these, approaches the rainbow-encircled throne and his Father to present his gifts from earth--his friends.

    Father embraces Son as he says, "Let everyone worship Him," signifying that their covenant made to redeem man before earth's creation has finished successfully.

    They've been celebrating ever since with joyful expressions of "He is worthy!" (When they're not helping us.)

    They never get tired of praising, or whispering to us, "He's worth it. He's worth it!

    You can't imagine the glory and celebration that awaits you! --the amazing life to come!"

    Revelation 4:2-3, 5:6-13, Ephesians 1:3-10, 17-22, 3:7-20, 1Thessalonians 4:13-17, Job 38:4-7

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  • # 257 Going Home

    A few weeks later, Jesus and his eleven walk through the gates of Jerusalem, leaving the city. People watch in wonder. This same group, minus one, is walking with their leader who was crucified over a month ago! How can this be?

    The disciples don't know it's their last time with Him.

    As they walk toward Gethsemane, Jesus sees the grape vine he'd used to illustrate divine connection. He restates His words, pausing at the garden, for them to recall the lessons of that painful night.

    Jesus has been in the world for thirty-three years, and was never understood. Nevertheless, His love for them is unaffected. And now they know Him.

    Continuing to the top of Olivet, He stops near Bethany. He gathers them around, and with light shining from his face, He raises His hands, blessing them, assuring them of His presence and protection. As He speaks, a power stronger than gravity begins to raise Him from the earth while the awe-struck disciples stand watching, listening to His tender words..."I am with you always, even to the end of the world."

    Soon a bright cloud of angels receives him with the sweetest, most glorious music they have ever heard.

    His guardian angels stay behind to give comfort, "Men of Galilee, why are you gazing up in amazement? Jesus will return again this same way." Then they joyfully join the others escorting Him home.

    Fear gone, the disciples are glowing with joy. Returning to Jerusalem, they share their unforgettable experience of seeing Jesus go home.

    Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:1-9

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  • # 256 Your Mission, If You Accept It

    Jesus' commission--to be loved and then to love-- is your mission if you accept it, and includes everyone who hears and receives His love until this world ends. To everyone, He says "Come."

    Receive Him, and you are gifted with His marvelous Spirit's power--active in you--co-mission. Don't be afraid or worry how you will work for Him--stress debilitates. Simply accept His love daily; believe it, and say, "Come." He works.

    Jesus directed his disciples to start in Jerusalem. Though it seems crazy, His murderers were to be first to receive His offer of mercy. Many secretly believed, many more had been deceived by the priests and had rejected Him; yet these, and even the priests, were to be given another opportunity--all whose hearts would open.

    Start with you--unbelieving though you may be. Get yourself Loved by Jesus. Just Come.

    Link yourself to Jesus daily. Allow His life-giving energy to flow through you to others; or your love will lack, your faith grow flimsy.

    Your work may be raising children in Jesus' love. Who knows? The ripple-effect of their lives may go to the ends of the earth. He promised His presence, His protection, and His privileges to all believers to the end of time.

    Called to heal? Jesus used simple, natural methods to accomplish great healings. Let your faith focus on His favor and all the resources at His command. Work in His Power.

    Open yourself to God daily, and constantly receive a new supply of physical and mental energy--everything you need.

    Come.

    Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:20, Luke 24:46-49

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  • # 255 Here is Fulfillment

    Before his death, Jesus had set up a time and place to meet his followers in Galilee. He had been followed by a large number of people off and on, and he wanted them to see him again, risen, and hear his commission.

    The angels at His empty tomb reminded the women of this meeting, sending a message about it to the others. Spirit spread the word quickly among his followers in Jerusalem, many only there for Passover.

    When the time comes, about 500 believers are gathered in small groups on the mountainside, eager to hear from those who had seen Him.

    The disciples go excitedly from group to group, sharing what they have seen and experienced of their risen Lord. Thomas shares his unbelief and how it was swept away.

    Suddenly Jesus is there!

    They recognize him, and yet His face is as the face of God. He shows them His hands and feet--the marks of His crucifixion. He reviews the prophecies about him, ending with a triumphant, "All power in heaven and on earth is given to Me."

    Seeing and hearing Him who was dead is thrilling, giving force to His words.

    Then he commissions each of them: "Go and teach everyone everywhere, sharing what I have taught you! Baptize them into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And know that I am with you always to the end of the world."

    Rejoice in the assurance of His continual Love and Presence! Here is his will for you! Invite others into His arms and His heart. Here is fulfillment.

    1Corinthians 15:6, Matthew 28:16-20

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  • # 254 The Only Qualification

    Peter was naturally self-sufficient and impulsive, and Satan had taken advantage of these characteristics to ruin him. But Jesus gives evidence of Peter's transformation to himself and six other disciples.

    Before His death, Jesus had warned Peter, assuring him that He had prayed for him so his faith wouldn't fail. "When you are converted, strengthen your brothers, "Jesus had added.

    So what is conversion? Peter already loved Jesus. But he didn't trust Him more than himself.

    Jesus' repeated question demonstrates the change in Peter. Not one self-important, impetuous word is answered. He still has zeal, but regulated by the graciousness of Jesus. Now he is calm, self-possessed and teachable--gained through his failure and facing himself. Now he is ready to minister.

    Jesus asks one question, "Do you love me?" He shows the essential qualification to work for God--the only condition of discipleship and service.

    After breakfast they walk down the beach. As they walk, Jesus reveals Peter's future to him, privately, in order to strengthen him for it. "When you were young, you dressed yourself and went where you wanted, but when you are old others will undress you, stretch out your hands, and take you where you don't want to go." Looking into his eyes Jesus says, "Follow Me."

    Peter is not disheartened, he really could die for Jesus now. But seeing John walking behind, he says, "Lord, what about him?"

    Jesus answers, "If I want him to live until I come, what's that to you? You follow me." Jesus is good with boundaries. How God leads someone else is none of our business.

    John 21: 18-25

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  • # 253 Miracle of Restored Hearts

    It's Peter's nature to be impulsive--and he's been forgiven most so shouldn't he love Jesus most? The other six bring in the boat and the catch, and find Jesus with a fire, bread, and fish.

    "Bring some fish, come and eat breakfast," invites Jesus.

    Peter helps drag the net with 153 big fish. When finished, they sit down, in awe. Jesus breaks and distributes bread and fish as usual, but no one asks where He got the fire or food.

    They remember the miracle from before when Jesus promised to make them fishers of men. Jesus wants to make sure they know that anyone staying connected with him cannot fail. Regardless of appearances, He will provide.

    He also wants to make them sure about Peter. So while eating, Jesus turns to Peter, "Simon, do you love me more than these?" He asks, giving him opportunity to regain the confidence of the others.

    Peter had boasted of his greater loyalty in front of them. Now he says simply, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."

    Jesus replies, "Feed my lambs."

    It's quiet, and a few minutes pass. Again, Jesus asks, "Simon, do you love me?"

    Peter is free from bravado, "Yes, Lord, you know I love you."

    "Feed my flock," says Jesus.

    A bit later Jesus asks yet again, "Simon, do you love me?"

    Peter is sad, thinking Jesus doubts him. Heart aching, he answers, "Lord, You know all things, You know that I love You."

    "Feed my sheep." Jesus says.

    Personal failures can be admitted to God alone; public failure needs public forgiveness and restoration.

    John 21:8-17

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