For this reason…


Ephesians 3:14-20

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.  I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 

I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.”

 For this reason.  For this reason…and what reason is that?  Paul had just written that he was the very least of all the saints and it was God’s grace that was granted to him to preach the boundless riches of Christ. 

For and because of God’s grace, it is that for that reason that Paul’s knees bow before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.  God’s grace is the reason.

Salvation by grace through faith.  This unlimited treasure of grace.  Let me ask you this question, do you allow yourself to be full open to receive grace?  Are you able to fully receive it and extend it to others?

I am guilty of this.  I am guilty of not taking the time to reflect on all that God has done for me and taking many times for granted.  I am guilty of being closed off to grace at times and of trying to do something to earn it.

Maybe you have done the same.  Gone through a time of spiritual dryness or struggle.  Trying to balance the demands of ministry, family, your own spiritual growth and for those of us that are bi-vocational, a full-time job as well.  Too many things to get done, allowing little time to reflect on God’s work in our own lives.

 Paul was a man that suffered many hardships for the sake of the gospel.  He became a servant according to the gift of God’s grace.  As we all know Paul wasn’t always a servant for Christ.  He persecuted Christians and tried to extinguish the early church.  God’s redeeming work and grace took a man that killed Christians and made him a man that would help save them. 

Paul is the most prolific writer in the New Testament.  If grace can change a heart that hard, what can it do for each of us?  What each one of us are capable of.  For this reason, for the saving grace of our God, my knees bow before the Father.

Pastor Shawn LaRue

Author of Incomplete

incompletedevotional.com

 

 

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Who is Christ?


 

“Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest!” the crowds shouted as Christ triumphantly entered the holy city of Jerusalem for the last time.  Save us, grant us blessing in the highest places.  The Jewish people were a conquered people, they carried the brutal weight of the Romans on their back.  They would be saved.
The whole city shook with the question of, “Who is this?”  Who is this man, fully human yet fully divine?  My question is during Holy Week is who is Christ to you?
What kind of God comes to this world, lives precisely the same way we do, lives a life of radical poverty, heals, teaches and allows the very same people he came to save to turn him over to be beaten, whipped, tortured and crucified?
A God of love does that.  A God that has a radical love for his people, a love that is unheard of and that we can only scratch the surface of.  During this holiest of days, let this question of who Christ is not be far from our hearts and minds.
Pastor Shawn, Seymour UMC

THE DEMISE OF “SIMILARITY”


Part 1: THE SAMENESS ILLUSION

Part2: THE “SAMENESS” CLAIM SERVES MULTIPLE PURPOSES

Part 3 A: THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-A

Part 3 B: THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-B (Noah)

Part 3 C:  THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-(Ibraheem, Moosa & Issa)

Part 4: So Who is Allah

Part 5: HISTORICAL FLASHBACK

PUTTING “SAMENESS” TO REST

We have established from the primary sources of Islam that through the appropriation and recasting of our Biblical narrative in all of its elements, vocabulary and terminology, into the Qur’an itself, there has been a usurpation of the authentic Biblical narrative which is historically accurate, and proven by the fulfilment of its prophecies as well as substantiated by archaeology and related disciplines.

The Islamic counter narrative (with its various threads) has been cleverly woven together, by keeping some apparent similarities in the names and stories of the Biblical characters, thus giving the illusion that they are the same as the Biblical ones. Having done that, the Qur’an takes the bold step of declaring that “your God and our Allah are the same”. Built into that in the Qur’anic narrative is the unsubstantiated assertion that all previous “books” were earlier limited editions of the Qur’an, that their recipients were all Muslims, and that they already knew about Muhammad and paid allegiance to him by Allah’s command. The result is a narrative that replaces the Biblical narrative that points to Christ, to another pointing to Muhammad.

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HISTORICAL FLASHBACK


Part 1: THE SAMENESS ILLUSION

Part2: THE “SAMENESS” CLAIM SERVES MULTIPLE PURPOSES

Part 3 A: THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-A

Part 3 B: THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-B (Noah)

Part 3 C:  THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-(Ibraheem, Moosa & Issa)

Part 4: So Who is Allah?

On going series on the difference between Allah and Lord GOD of the Bible.

THE INITIAL CALL (DA’WA)

So, how did this all happen in real-time? And what are the implications for today?

Unfortunately, the only source that the Muslim scholars rely on to provide a presumed historical account of Muhammad’s career is given in various versions of what is termed the “Sirah” (purported biography). This was written well after his death at different times by different authors who relied heavily on oral traditions.

The Sirah is both authoritative, and considered to be somewhat speculative. In examining these belated chronicles of Muhammad’s career, it all started with his initial proclamations of absolute oneness of Allah, as in:

Surah 112, “Say: ‘He is Allah, One. Allah, the self-sufficient, besought of all. He neither begot, nor was begotten. Nor is there anyone equal to him.’”

Thus, Muhammad declares all others as forms of idolatry, and in particular, the divine Sonship of Christ, to be the highest form of idolatry and therefore an unforgivable sin (called Shirk in Islam).

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So Who is Allah?


Part 1: THE SAMENESS ILLUSION

Part2: THE “SAMENESS” CLAIM SERVES MULTIPLE PURPOSES

Part 3 A: THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-A

Part 3 B: THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-B (Noah)

Part 3 C:  THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-(Ibraheem, Moosa & Issa)

THE DILEMMA WITHIN ISLAM

Having answered the question from the perspective of whether or not Allah is one and the same, or even tangentially similar to the Lord God of the Bible with a resounding “no”, the question remains: then who is he?

So let us explore the central dilemma that has faced Muslim scholars throughout Islamic history—the dilemma of defining the nature of Allah, or more precisely in developing the so-called Doctrine of Allah, while proclaiming that he never reveals his nature, so his nature cannot be known and that any attempt to discover it is considered the highest level of Shirk (i.e. association of any deity or person with Allah).

They would develop the terms, (a) “Tawheed”, meaning absolute oneness or unity to describe Allah and (b) “Tanzeeh”, meaning that Allah is free of all anthropomorphisms and absolutely incomparable to anything or anyone – in other words, being pure and distinct from all associations (see Figure below). They would then state that Tawheed is the “true monotheism” from the foundation of the universe.

They would use Qur’anic verses and Hadith quotations to denounce the Triune God of the Bible as violating both the Tawheed and the Tanzeeh, and would produce as evidence a distorted definition of the “Trinity” calling it “Shirk”. Islam teaches that the “Trinity” is composed of three gods. There is a school of thought that posits that this trinity is composed of Allah, Maryam and Issa, inferring a physical union between Allah and Maryam. Even when explained that this is not the case, but that the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity is rather Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Muslim scholars would still regard it as polytheism and associating partners with Allah (Shirk). Despite being unable to tell us anything of substance about Allah, they still object and continue to vehemently refute the Biblical doctrine of the self-revealing Triune God

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