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April 2008


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April 2008

April 6, 2008

Continuing with the third part of the article about The Part of the Lord, we understand from the Bible that money represents the symbol of the material world, of happiness, of wealth and power on earth. Money means a home, a car, clothes, food, drink, vacations, fun, fulfilled desires, celebrity, connections, lack of worry for tomorrow… Money is necessary, but it can easily become a god to which man bows and on which he depends. Paul said: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil..." (1 Tim. 6:10). It is not money itself that is evil, but the love of money. In the parable found in Luke 12, the Savior does not talk against the money the rich man had, but against his sinful and selfish attitude. His foolishness became evident only after he became rich.

Money is the greatest challenge for man and his heart’s attitude towards it reflect his level of spirituality. Man’s life is marked by the love of money or by the love of God more than by anything else. Achan dies because of love for money; Gehazi became ill with leprosy because of the same thing. The Pharaoh kept the Hebrew people prisoner for more than 400 years for money; Balaam invited them to immorality because of the same reason. The young rich ruler left unsaved because of money, Zacchaeus stayed with Jesus because he disconnected his heart from the love of money. The poor widow was appreciated by Jesus because she gave away her money, and the bleeding woman came to Jesus after having spent all her money. Ananias and Saphira die because of money, and Judas sold Jesus for money.

Money is the most important thing in men’s lives – some loves is selfishly, others use it responsibly and each mortal must pass this test of life. God has money, but does not have a wallet, this is why He keeps it in His children’s wallets. This is the reason for which money is called “The Lord’s Part”. In the Old Testament this part was 10%, but in the New Testament this part is proportional to man’s love and dedication for the Creator. For example, the apostles gave everything (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32), the widow gave everything (Mat. 12:41-44), Zacchaeus gave half (Luke 19:8), the churches of Macedonia gave more than they could (2 Cor. 8:1-3,5), the Christians in Corinth gave as much as they could (1 Cor. 16:1), and those in Galatia gave as much as they wanted to be blessed (Gal. 6:6-9).

In the New Testament, The Lord’s Part is given according to three principles:

1. Each person must give; no one is an exception (1 Cor. 16:2).

2. Each person must give as much as possible, according to their income (1 Cor. 16:2). The difference is made by his love of God.

3. Each one must give joyfully, not forcibly (2 Cor. 9:7).

In Malachi 3:7 the return to repentance also meant restoring the Lord’s Part (3:8). When Zacchaeus repented and the young rich ruler did not, the difference between them was seen in their attitude towards money, towards the Lord’s Part. There is no genuine repentance without a repentance of the wallet. Luther said: “There are three necessary conversions: the conversion of the heart, the conversion of the mind, and the conversion of the wallet”. Money is spent one way or another and life goes on anyway, “but whoever does the will of God lives forever”. (1 John 2:17)

April 13, 2008

Forgiveness is the expression of God's character and of His children's as well; it is the manifestation of love, kindness and understanding. Forgiveness does not mean to accept, encourage, or forget the guilt; it means to not bring up the transgression again and to release the guilty person of his guilt. Forgiveness is received from God by faith and it is offered to the fellow humans through love, and these two actions influence each other. Even if a person regrets having made a certain mistake, God does not forgive him or her unless man forgives those who wronged him, when they feel sorry for doing so. Our Savior forgave those who tortured and crucified Him and later on His disciple Stephan followed His example. The proof that a person is a follower of Jesus is given not only by his words, but more by his deeds, whether or not they resemble Jesus'. It must have been terribly difficult for Stephan to forgive that crowd of religious avengers, who, having no real reason, stoned him to death.

Forgiveness does not have an explanation. It is divine- it was God’s initiative and it expresses His character. Forgiveness cannot be deserved, cannot be paid for, it is a gift of divine goodness and love. God’s forgiveness is the motivation for each Christian to forgive the one who wrongs him, whether he is a family member or a stranger. God forgave us for the first time when we were far away from Him, separated from His Gospel. Now, He forgives us because we are His children, redeemed by the faith in Jesus. The only excuse for not forgiving the one who wrongs you is wickedness, hatred, and enmity, but these do not excuse you; they accuse you.

A man can be considered forgiven by the person he wronged in the moment when he genuinely asks for forgiveness, and it does not depend on the forgiver’s attitude, because the guilty one can do nothing more than ask for forgiveness. Does the guilty person really have to ask for forgiveness or must he be simply and automatically forgiven? The correct answer is found in God’s attitude. Does God forgive a man’s sin if he does not repent, does not confess the sin, does not feel sorry for doing it, and does not make a commitment to not repeat it? The response is NO. Can we be better than God? The forgiveness is offered when it is asked for. A cheap forgiveness creates a good precedent for repeating the mistake.

Forgiveness is the method of restoring the rubble guilt created, both among people, and between man and God. Asking for forgiveness must be the expression of regret – repentance of the mind –, it must be the expression of remorse – repentance of the feelings –, and finally, it must be the expression of renunciation – repentance of the will. This kind of request for forgiveness is always accepted by God and it must also be accepted by the person who has been wronged, no matter the type or the size of the damage. Also, such a request for forgiveness not only satisfies and determines the wronged person to forgive, but also humiliates the guilty one to such an extent that he will avoid repeating the mistake. If pain would not hurt, no one would want to avoid it, so asking for forgiveness must hurt. The wronged person does not have the right to not forgive, saying that the request was not regretful or remorseful enough. Only God has the right and the ability to judge man’s feelings and thoughts. We, humans, have only the right and the ability to judge the deeds we see and the words we hear. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us ", said Moses in Deuteronomy. So, forgive to be forgiven.

April 20, 2008

Marriage is one of man’s great ideals, but also one of his great investments. The contemporary pragmatism qualifies the necessity of marriage according to its efficiency, but the success of a family depends on the extent of investment in it and on respecting the initial norms set for a family. What are these?

1. Adam’s mission justifies his existence. One of God’s major purposes with Adam was to administrate Eden: ”The Lord... put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Gen. 2:15). Adam was created by God in the wilderness, in a rough place, with no vegetation (Gen. 2:5-7), being made out of the cold and lifeless dust. After falling into sin and being exiled from Eden, his punishment is given in the realm of physical work: work the cursed land with effort and sweat, and it will still produce thorns. That is why man is focused on the work outside of the house, he is driven by competition, performance, adventure, sports, fishing, hunting… and generally by nature, forecast, orientation… Moses meets God in the wilderness, Jacob does as well, Elijah hides in the wilderness, our Savioe Jesus is tempted in the wilderness. Marco Polo, Hannibal, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespuci, Magellan... all these discoverers were men. A man finds fulfillment in work, in performance, in leadership, in reason, in intimate relationship within the family. After the fall into sin, man’s main features were perverted and they lost their balance. For this reason he is prone to being tough with his family, being aggressive, lonesome, uncommunicative, rational, lost in his work, obsessed by performance and material accomplishments. In the rough life of such a man, God brings the velvet half, Eve; in the dry wilderness, God brings vegetation.

2. Adam’s loneliness justifies Eve’s existence. If Adam was made of the cold dust, Eve was made of Adam’s warm rib. If he was made in the rough, lifeless wilderness, she was made in the luxuriant garden, full of life and color. If he was made for administration and work, she was made for company and assistance. If Adam was made for activities outside the house, Eve, even after the fall, is punished in the realm of the household activities: birth, raising and educating the children, managing the household (Gen. 3:16-17). For this reason, the main features of a woman are communication, kindness, relationships, mercy, interest for life, friendship… Adam’s role in marriage was to choose, while Eve’s was to be introduced or to present herself. Making a choice assumes observation, discernment, maturity, criteria of appreciation, power of making decisions; being introduced assumes beauty, character, modesty, spirituality, sociability, persuasiveness. Because Adam was facing the risk of becoming tough, due to his feature of roughness, God commands him: ”love your wife”. Because Eve was facing the risk of being picky, due to her velvet-like features, God commands her: ”be submissive (respect) to your husband". Today many families fail because of permanent arguments, terrible scandals, divorce – and all these because the two spouses are educated by the immoral Hollywood spirit, rather than by God’s Holy Spirit. If Jesus Christ is in the heart of each one of the two partners, how is it possible for them not to get along, not to fit with each other? The family as good, strong, and faithful as each of the individual partners is. Lord, bless the family!

April 27, 2008

No matter the religious color, age, or the social status, people feel the need to pray, to share their joy with Someone who deserves their gratitude or who wants to share their sorrow in order to help them. Prayer is the best method to seek God, it is the proof that we depend on His resources. Prayer offers God`s holiness a legal reason for Him to act in the favor of sinful or at least imperfect people. Prayer is the worship of the creature manifesting gratitude, outpouring love, overflowing pain, sharing joy, it is the sign of a spiritual life, the support for life, the shout of desperation, the call for mercy, the peace of the heart, the interceding of a friend, the breath of the soul, the SOS of humanity.

Prayer is similar to a child`s attitude when he want something from his father, when he asks, shouts, expects something from his dad. In the Bible the word FATHER in a term reflecting intimacy between man and God. In the Old Testament the word FATHER is used only 7 times, when God is called the Father of the nation of Israel. But this appears only in a common prayer, not in a personal invocation. In the New Testament, the word FATHER is used 258 times and it expresses the spiritual relationship with the saved person, not only God`s relationship with a nation. It is a great privilege to be able to call God FATHER, to be and to feel that you are His child. The heavens and the earth are God`s dwelling place and, on one hand, people have the moral obligation to communicate with God, and, on the other hand, they have the real need to communicate with Him, as their Father. To be orphan and alone is a very sad experience, it is discouraging and painful. What chances do people have to live without God, on God’s property, when they step of God’s earth, breathe His air, have life from Him, and one day, sooner rather than later, when they pass away, they will meet Him? What kind of a meeting will that be, with a God from whom they ran and entire life, from whom they hid or whom they treated with indifference, a God they wanted to share nothing with, nothing but their tears and pain? A God who shared everything with them, while they shared nothing with Him, a God who opened His heart, while they closed theirs, a God who opened up heavens for them, while they kicked Him out of this earth, which was rightfully His earth. What kind of child is the one who cast his father out of the home, a child who wants only the father`s inheritance, protection, privileges… and nothing more? If God is the Father, than man is the child and they form a spiritual family. Why is it so hard for these children to sacrifice themselves for their Father? Why are they indifferent to their Father`s love, to His interests, to his Church, to their own brothers? The questions is, WHY?

The answer is: ”What a man sows, that he will reap.” This is one of the laws in the House of God. He truly loved the first man, Adam, but when he broke the rules of the house, God had to choose between keeping His holiness and keeping the disobedient and indifferent child. We all know the answer. Do you think that God will treat the contemporary Adam differently when he chooses the fruit, not the creator, the partner not the master? Lack of communication makes people have arguments and have nothing in common. Lack of prayer demonstrated the fact that man is rebelling against God or he simply does not care about the interests on His Kingdom. The consequences of not knowing God and of not believing in Him, of being proud, greedy, and selfish are catastrophic. In his evil race for lust, materialism, and power, man turns his back to his own Creator, being driven by his self, his ambition, his pride, and his foolishness he cannot control anymore, thus losing the eternal privileges of God`s Kingdom. If we had only one day left to live, let`s live it with God and for God, manifesting in prayer our FATHER – CHILD spiritual relationship. This is the only lasting thing- everything else will burn with a loud blast.