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Dec 18, 2009

Marrying Yourself to God is Love

38 years ago, in a remote neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska, a young stressed-out mother came running out of her front door towards her two-year-old baby boy. She literally body slammed him with full force sending his little frame flying across the front lawn. She then proceeded to grab him in full view of all the neighbors and beat him repeatedly up and down his body. The child was screaming at the top of his lungs, but his mother was relentless. Several neighbors came running from their homes. One gentleman called the Fire Department and the woman next door called the police. Within several minutes, the entire neighborhood was surrounding this helpless two-year-old boy, waiting for the paramedics to rush him to the hospital. It was a frightful terrible day that actually took place in our lives when I was in the first grade.

The woman was my mother, and the little boy was my brother Brian. He nearly lost his life that day. Did my mother go to jail for the incident? NO. Did Child Protective Services pay our home a visit after that? NO. Was Brian afraid of her after what she did? NO. In fact, quite the opposite. He was drawn closer to her. Brian will openly tell you today that our mother was right in what she did, and he would do the same thing to one of his children if the situation called for it.

The But-What-About phenomenon  

When I first came to the revelation that God is love, I started down the familiar path that I think most people travel on when entering this journey. It’s a pathway full of but-what-abouts at every turn. “God is love” sounds beautiful and fluffy, but what about all those passages where God told the Israelites to go into a town and kill every man, woman, and child? “God is love” but what about when He sent the flood and killed everyone on the earth in one sweep? God is love, but what about the entire Old Testament? Was He just pissed off then, and now He’s become nice? Is God Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? 

As I began to take my, “God is love” with me when going on a bible reading adventure, I started to discover within myself a pattern of reasoning that would trip me up every time I came across one of these brutal passages. With “God is love” sitting right beside me like a girlfriend at a drive-in theater, I found that the moment I came across a bible story where something bloody or violent was taking place at God’s orders, I would throw my hands up in the air and kick “God is love” right out of the car. I began to realize that no matter how much I wanted to pretend I believed that God was love, I didn’t really believe it in my heart. I found that I was only dating “God is love” but I wasn’t ready for a commitment. We’d go out and have a great time together, but when things got shaky or specific bible verses looked scary to me, I dropped that belief to the side and turned to my old buddy “FEAR” to interpret the story for me.

I remember a time about seven years ago when I began toying with the idea of actually marrying myself to “God is love” and remaining faithful to Him even in the midst of reading difficult bible passages that seemed to prove otherwise. I had come to a point where He had proven to me over and over that He truly IS love, and the longer I walked with Him, the less and less I would be intimidated by those verses.

I learned that when I stood by “God is love” when traveling through Old Testament passages a new perspective would begin to bloom and a greater understanding of what was really happening would shine through for the very first time. When that began to happen, I decided to revisit every single bible verse that scared the hell out of me and purposefully hold “God is love” up to it like a lens and see what happened. What I found has rocked my world and has forever changed what I thought I knew about God in the Old Testament. 
 

I think the reason why so many people have a difficult time with Old Testament stories is because they kick “God is love” out of the car the moment God appears to scary. 

It’s no secret that most Christians prefer to highlight the picture of God given in the New Testament. They look at the Old Testament as being an unfortunate string of events where God was full of hate and wrath. Once He had a Son, however, He settled down and became a family man. It’s almost like He got saved when Jesus came and now He has repented from His old ways.

When I look at those difficult to understand passages in the bible where God was sending plagues and opening the earth to swallow entire families and killing the first born son of every family I am tempted to ask “God is love” to exit the vehicle but I close my eyes and hold on. 

I don’t have to make excuses or deny that the instance took place. I don’t have to change the incident or passage in order to stick to the belief of who He is. I also don’t have to play stupid and overlook or ignore the incident altogether. When we do these things, we are needlessly trying to manipulate scripture or disconnect our hearts from the story in an effort to keep “God is love” alive in our minds. If we really believed it, we wouldn’t have to do either. I think we do these things out of desperation. We’re desperate because we’re scared and we’re scared because we don’t really believe that He IS love. It’s a double edged sword because we don’t believe God is love because of the things we see Him doing in the Old Testament, but in order to interpret the WHY behind what we see Him doing in these passages we have to believe that God is love. “God is love” is the lens through which the entire bible must be interpreted. The moment we veer from THAT, we are left with nothing but fear. 

IF YOU BELIEVE GOD IS LOVE and stand on it, it will illuminate each of these difficult to understand passages in scripture and reveal an entirely different truth that you were previously unable to see. When you commit to this one central revelation about the very essence of God Himself another truth will inevitably begin to surface that will explain what’s really happening in whatever scripture you are reading. Remember; scripture IS revelation. You’re either getting the intended revelation or you’re missing it. Every time you abandon the central revelation of God’s very essence you will inevitably miss every subsequent revelation that springs forth from that one.  

The problem is that we never get that far when we come across one of these scary Old Testament stories about God because we’re too busy abandoning the revelation that is central to all things; “God is love.” 

Every time I hear someone citing an Old Testament passage and accusing God, in an effort to tarnish his reputation or to prove Him unworthy or loathsome, it is fear and uncertainty that causes us to see these passages the way we do. It is a lack of faith and knowledge of who He is, that causes us to question and be blind to the answers. Fear and uncertainty causes us to see everything pertaining to what it is we fear or are unsure of. If we haven’t become certain that “God is love” we will see these passages and every other as being about the very thing we are uncertain of; God’s love. If we fully believe that He IS love and we don’t flinch or back away from that truth, our eyes will be open to receiving what these passages are really a revelation of.

This is precisely why Christians see every verse and parable in the New Testament as having to do with whether or not they’ll make it to heaven. To a person who is unsure of their salvation; parables like the story of the Prodigal Son, the Talents, and the Farmer Scattering Seed, suddenly appear as a teaching about salvation and heaven and hell. Everything we read ends up being translated by our fear and uncertainty. Even a beautiful parable that depicts the Father's love for us, gets retranslated into a warning to people about their need to repent. To a fearful and uncertain person, that is all they can see. To a loving and forgiving person, that is all THEY can see. 

When I was a kid I looked at a Playboy magazine my friend brought to school. I was terrified that someone would catch me. When I went home that day, everything my parents said to me seemed like they knew what I had done. Later that night, we went to church and I remember that everything the pastor said in his sermon was pointing straight to me looking at that magazine. I was convinced that the people walking by me in the halls knew what I had done. This is the point I’m making about these scary bible verses. Your eyes will focus in on the one thing you are the most nervous about and the LEAST sure about. If it’s God’s character and you’re standing with Him you haven’t decided upon yet, you’ll read these passages and they’ll appear to be nothing more than a revelation of His lack of Character and His unquenchable anger toward you.  

When I decided to hold on to “God is love” and then re-read some of these Old Testament bible stories I was suddenly able to focus my eyes on the real revelation that was being shown. In fact, it was this revelation that caused me to break out into an entire teaching series on this subject, because I had never in my life considered how terrible it really was. 

It was a revelation of SIN.

I think the average Christian reads about how God caused the earth to swallow an entire
family up and we immediately worry for our own safety. If we held to "God is love" we would see that this passage in scripture is giving us a graphic picture of just how horrible and terrible sin is. I think most of us see sin as us doing something wrong. We don’t actually SEE it for what it truly is. We don’t see how terribly destructive, contagious, crippling, and deadly it really is. For a God of love to do these things in the Old Testament it just shows was a serious and deadly disease sin is and how destructive it is to the human race. I have come to she much of the Old Testament as a revelation of sin. From Adam and Eve on, sin was the primary problem that needed to be addressed because it was bent on the destruction of the ones God loves.

These Old Testament passages that used to terrify me and scare me away from God, now cause me to run towards Him. I have a deeper appreciation
for what He was doing. I realize that our Father sees the truth of what was attacking and destroying His children. He knows just how awful the beast of sin really is. For Him to have to do some of the things He did in the Old Testament must have been traumatic for Him. This beast of sin is so terrible that it would eventually take the life of God’s only Son. 

Now back to my original story about my brother Brian and my mother.

The situation was this; Brian was on fire. He had been playing with matches and lit his pants on fire. My mother was doing the dishes when she looked up and saw her baby boy completely engulfed in flames running across the front lawn. She ran out and literally saved his life with what she did.

My point is this; some people would ONLY see my mother beating Brian and they would
immediately make judgments on her mothering skills. Other people, because of the angle they were viewing the incident from, saw the fire. They called her a hero. It all depends on what angle we see things from. When you hold to “God is love”, you position yourself where you can see EVERYTHING from a perfect angle. 

Today, I stand in even greater appreciation for what Christ did for us all because these Old Testament passages reveal to me the magnitude of what was accomplished on the cross. I would not have come to that beautiful truth if I had not married myself to “God is Love.”



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Comments

  1. Gravatar
    Ann Onymous

    WOW. What a great clarification. I have struggled and struggled with those OT things and have put it to the side for a long time. I said to myself recently, I would like to have a different perspective on that, but I'm not sure how to get there....well, I'm there!!!

  2. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Well, I hope I explained it good enough. It also works when you hold it up to New Testament verses that seem to say you'll lose your salvation or God will judge you or hurt you.

  3. Gravatar
    Mo

    This was MARVELOUS!!! Especially your illustration at the end. It makes me think of an explanation another wise friend of mine has given me - God's Truth is the truth regardless of how we "feel" or what we think - He does not contradict Himself, and He cannot act against His nature. That still occasionally causes a conflict in my "thinking" and "feeling", but I do love the perception of being married to "God is Love". Thank you so much.

  4. Gravatar
    Greg

    I didn't even finish before I had to post. Please all...never let go of this truth. I find myself with a cancer they said would kill me a year ago. Leave my 3 kids with no earthly Father. My Wife a widow. But this I know...whether I live in this world or pass on to Heaven...HE WILL FIND YOU!! HE HAS FOUND YOU!! When all the lights go out he will pull you into his light. He is and always will be LOVE. Jesus commended his Spirit into his Father's loving hand. He knew it would not fail him as his eyes closed. He WILL NOT FAIL. TRUST in this. Even when everything else seems to try to tell you something else. Everything seen and heard, and felt through the Truth of his love for you will change everything. It is the answer to every question. The solution to every riddle. Thanks Darin.

  5. Gravatar
    Alison

    Thank you, Darin. Very timely. Good job. That story about Brian is a perfect illustration.

  6. Gravatar
    David Backus

    Bravo Bravo. That was a piece of pure theological genius. This is one of those rare times where the best of you shines through Darin. I am truly dumbfounded by this one!

  7. Gravatar
    David Joseph Brncik

    Perfect A+ Darin

  8. Gravatar
    Jenny

    I agree with another A+, Darin. This makes me want to go directly to the Old Testament and read it again. 'God is Love' is the surest foundational belief a human being can possibly have. Thanks!

  9. Gravatar
    Steph

    Such truth, and such clarity. You are helping me to get hold of the Father's love on a deeper level than I ever thought possible.

  10. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Wonderful Steph, wonderful!

  11. Gravatar
    tracey

    This rings true to my heart and has been in my head for the past few weeks. I was just saying to my husband the other day, when you read the Bible replace the word "God" with the word "Love" and you may see things from a different perspective.

  12. Gravatar
    Miguel

    in the IC i was taught that God is love AND justice, and because of that He had to procced that way. and still has today. All a teory of a two-faces God that consfused me for years. Now im beginning to understand that the Truly God is LOVE, and nothing more, and all his acts were and are and will be motivated only for this infinite Love. Those people who died in the AT were indeed "saved" by some way because of they death. God kill them to save them. Thanks Darin

  13. Gravatar
    Don

    Excellent illustration using the incident of your mother saving your brother. But, I am still unconvinced!.... Only Kidding. It demonstrates that I am not alone in this journey from the religious fear based mindset to learning to trust a loving heavenly Father because of his inherent goodness. Well thought out and well written.

  14. Gravatar
    Jim D

    What helps me when I read those OT stories like when the Israelites were murmuring against God and Moses; I usually picture some angel pointing down at the people and saying “those idiots are always complaining, someone otta fry those d-bags”, and God says you mean like this, ZAP! All you smell is burnt proteins in the air, then everyone in heaven just laughs and laughs. You know, people are just so serious nowadays and it seems like no one appreciates a good practical joke anymore.

  15. Gravatar
    Jim Kaiser

    I'm a couple months new to FB's. My head is still swirling. However, I've been in the wild since my days in the Navigators some 34 years ago. Why did it take so long to see all this in the right light? Why didn't God show me sooner? Why, why, why?... Looking at all that has transpired and how I read the bible has all new meaning and posibilities as I marry myself to "God is Love" thinking. From depression to hope that there actually is an answer- Thanks Daren and all of you for sharing your hearts. I just got new glasses. It's kinda like 'dialing in' the prescription on that goofy looking lense machine they put up to your eyes. Does lense "a" look more truthful, or does lense "b"? What does my heart say? With everyones helpful comments I've gotten a glimmer that my heart may still work.

  16. Gravatar
    Miguel

    Jim K just keep going my friend the important thing is that you are awake now more than before, that you are OF HIM, and you are not alone. Fill up with Him in every sense, and dont allow decieve again in your heart. Test all things by the love that is increasing in you.

  17. Gravatar
    Joy

    I am absolutely in love love love with this.....I too first met God and saw how much he loved me. I understood that the sin was destruction and I naturally didn't want the sin. So many people think not sinning is a RESTRAINT like it's keeping you from the GOOD STUFF. The Institutional Chritians count it a sacrifice upon themselves because they are so holy and righteous for not sinning...When the whole time the reality is that if you really knew God you wouldn't WANT to sin and think it foolish. I am so happy to read this that I am not the only one who believes this. Thank You.

  18. Gravatar
    Jim D

    Crap, under much intense pressure to make one useful comment before 2009 ends. Hmmm... got it: Regarding “Zapology” (see my Dec 24 comment above), I am currently reading an insightful book (although not an easy read) entitled “Her Gates Will Never Be Shut, Hope, Hell and the New Jerusalem” by Bradley Jersak; ISBN 13: 978-1-60608-822-1. (It has an endorsement from Eugene Peterson.) Also, it may help you find out if you’re hot or not.

  19. Gravatar
    Julie Todd

    Darin,
    I just finished reading "The Misunderstood God" and wrote a review of it on my blog: http://jewelsightings.blogspot.com
    as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christian Book Distributors. I'd be happy to put up a review on other sites if you would tell me where.

    My husband and I loved the book. If you can I'd love for you to stop by my blog and read my review.

    Thanks for a GREAT read!
    Julie

  20. Gravatar
    Barb

    I don't see anything new here. God's wrath is upon everyone outside of Christ. Our biggest problem wasn't our sin but His wrath. When we repent and place our faith in Christ there is no fear of His wrath because it was spent on His Son for us. "Most" people will spend eternity under the holy wrath of God and His love won't stop that.

  21. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Barb I wish you could listen to yourself and how you sound. With a god like yours, who needs hell or a devil? Jesus must have been lying when he said "if you've seen me, you've seen the Father." He came loving and forgiving people and healing sinners. He was full of grace, NOT WRATH. It's the kindness of God that leads people to repentance. Your theology is not only wrong, but it's depressing and void of love. If you don't see anything new in this article, you didn't read it because this article is completely new to YOU. How would a God of such hatred and wrath send his only son to save the world? How would he lay down his own life for others?

  22. Gravatar
    Jim D

    Barb: In addition to Darin comments above on God’s consistency (agape love versus the idea of repent or forever fry), I would again suggest Brad Jersak’s book (see my Dec 28 comment) which analyzes the subject of hell/judgement in detail. The book does not provide dogmatic conclusions, but instead provides fact-based (not pulled out of someone’s butt) insight into another key area where religion has feed us a bowl of (traditional) crap that we have eaten up without much thought or analysis. The read will leave you with new perspectives on God's wrath/judgement. But this suggestion is only if you are open to looking into how much of our current churchy understanding on judgement is based on misunderstanding and misinterpretation. On that note, wishing everyone one hell of a 2010.

  23. Gravatar
    David Backus

    We just watched the Narnia movie Prince Caspian. There was a great action scene in it towards the end. The little girl (Lucy) was riding through the woods to find Aslan and she was being chased by the enemy. She stumbles upon the lion and the first thing she sees scares her because the lion stands tall and roars very loudly. He immediately goes to attack the enemy chasing her. But the very next moment Lucy jumps on top of the lion and playfully cuddles with Him. I thought this was a beautiful picture of God's love versus his wrath. His wrath is never meant for us but is meant for what would destroy us.

  24. Gravatar
    Lou

    Married to the thought of love. Being in love and making the commitment to love no matter what. To know and be loved that way. Just read a book where it talked about a relationship like fishing. We "catch and release". I think that's what you are talking about here with loving God. I trust that love when things are good but when things go south then I conveniently just throw HIM back. I'm tired of this kind of love relationship with the Father. I choose the real mccoy....to be the bride of Christ.

  25. Gravatar
    Barb

    Jim D, you and Darin give information w/o biblical back-up. It doesn't matter what either of you think, but it does matter what God's Word says!

  26. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Sorry Barb I just decided to give information the same way Jesus and Paul did. They didn't give biblical back up every time they made a statement either. In fact, I would like some "biblical back up" from you showing that we are to quote a bible verse next to everything we say to back it up. If you can show me that, I'll proudly follow those instructions. If you can't back up this mentality with scripture (and you can't) please don't ask me or anyone else to follow this purely religious rule. If you NEED biblical back up it's because you haven't read the bible. If you've read the bible you should know what it says and you shouldn't need to have everything backed up when someone makes a statement.

  27. Gravatar
    Jim D

    Barb since we are allowed 800 characters (they might consider allowing more like say 801), I tried recommending a book (and it is not the only book on this), since it includes lots of scriptural references along with historical/early church writings. But then even with scriptures we would probably still get into arguements on what God's wrath actually is and what it is directed at. I guess in the end it relies more on how you view God, if you believe God is love(1 Jn 4:8 + many other NT refs) and that Jesus' desire is to save, not condemn the "whole" world (Jn 3:17), the way you read it is opposite from one who reads from a repent or die & fry mode - "never the twain shall meet" maybe even if love comes and bites the person in the butt. Hope you will consider wrath from a God is love view.

  28. Gravatar
    Dan

    Hi there Darin & fellow free-rangers. I've been around here awhile without comment, but Darin was kind enough to take time out of his day and call me via phone about a year ago and I'd like to thank you for your personal approach and desire to communicate with others directly. One of the things I've learned by working with others is that, I've never been able to shed light on the truth unless it has already been illuminated within someone's heart to begin with.

  29. Gravatar
    Pamela Bailleaux Hiscocks

    I asked Jesus to show me His face. He did...He was wearing a crown of thorns and His face was covered with blood, sweat, and tears, I asked Him why am I seeing you this way?( i was expecting to see His white horse and sword)...I was amazed, He answered me..."This is my Glory."

  30. Gravatar
    debsfree

    Your brother's 'life' is in his body. Your Mom preserved his life by putting out the fire on his body. I don't think God ever did order the killing that is depicted in the Bible. That's not to say that the killing never happened. IMO, God could not ever do or think of doing such a thing. But man,with intentions to control (judge), put those words there. In Genesis, God quickly came to the aid of His Creation - covered the body. We, however, have rathered live in our egoic 'imagined reality' of pain producing fear, guilt and shame. This is not what God wants for us and He has not changed. We have Holy Spirit to comfort us and lead us into all Truth - FORGIVENESS. We ALL ARE the LIGHT of the world and our greatest need is to focus on that truth. God wants us to be happy. He is ALL and in ALL

  31. Gravatar
    sinead

    Hi there
    a few weeks ago I asked God to teach me more about love...about Himself. My world has been shaken! Every day He is showing me more of His heart and His gentleness and patience blows me away. To say that I've really understood God as love up till now would be a lie..and i'm amazed by how many lies i have unwittingly swallowed in the name of religion over the years. I'm not quite sure Darin how your book made its way to my front door this week but seemingly i ordered it in a semi-conscious state without remembering! Either way i'm blessed and i pray that i'll have the courage now to keep facing the truth of who my heavenly father is...even though I've a sneaking suspicion it might leave me somewhat outside the web of christianity that i've been entangled with up till now! Freedom!

  32. Gravatar
    Pat Traglia

    Darin, I meet you this weekend in Huntsville Al.I do believe in what your message is on God is love. There were two things that came about for me this past weekend. 1. The verse you spoke of Friday taste and see that He is good Ps. 34:8 was waiting for me when I got home on a devotion that was actually meet for the of Jan 8th!Then another thing, I have had a garden stone for years that sits in front of my house in a flower bed that says God is Love. It seems to me that He is really speaking to me on behalf of your message. I feel like for years I have been stuck in this sin that He delivered me from 12 years ago and now I feel like I have not given Him the credit that is due to His love for me.Pray for me as I begin this new freedom .Pat

  33. Gravatar
    Laurie Jackson

    Love this!

  34. Gravatar
    Joyce

    Darin,
    Thank you so much for this enlightenment...Such great truth...It has enhanced the clarity of my journey living in Father's Love...THANK YOU

  35. Gravatar
    Rich

    For many years I have really wondered just what Father was trying to tell us in the OT. I really never seen through all the death that took place at the hands of God. Your blog has really opened my mind and spirit to look at the OT in a different frame of mind. I have wondered how such a loving Father could have the really hard side. Thanks for getting me on the correct path with this. Thanks

  36. Gravatar
    Dave Morrie Dick

    The argument about using scripture and verse to back up our beliefs is puzzling to me. I would like to add a thought and would appreciate being corrected if I'm wrong about this?
    The message of Jesus burst onto the known world 2,000 years ago via the early believers. They had no bibles (the bible wasn't canonized till several centuries later), nor was the majority of people in the world literate at the time. Letters written by the apostles (and others). They were sent, copied, circulated among believers, and were read by those who could read in meeting places where the church met.
    Question: Was it the availibility and accuracy of those letters that "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6), or was it the shared experience of having personally met the risen Jesus of Nazareth? dmk

  37. Gravatar
    Rob

    Darin, I have read "The Misunderstood God" as well as many other books along the same line and I have loved them. I agree wholeheartedly that it is all about love. And I want to just hug this blog to my chest and relish in it. I have a pretty specific question that my wife posed to me as I finished reading your blog. We are struggling to see where the love was when God told Joshua and the Israelites to march around Jericho, and, after the walls came down, go in and slaughter everybody? Certainly the unsuspecting people of Jericho were not feeling God's love. Please don't take my question as doubting the love of God. I agree that God has never been anything but loving to me and I want to be on the same page as everyone here who also seem to love this post. Help me out here.

  38. Gravatar
    T

    Great Post D.

  39. Gravatar
    Per

    perspective shift...So how a man's believes so he goes..is that how it goes somewhere in the OT.

  40. Gravatar
    Mike

    Rob, We need to trust Papa sees the end from the beginning and for whatever reason chose to allow Jericho to be wiped out. Consider the larger event of the Flood and accompanying lose of life. Sin as Darin has mentioned is contagious. Papa had to make a "tough love" decision to wipe out that contagion in order to preserve "the patient" long enough to get the ultimate "cure". Or at least that is my read. We simply don't know why Papa may chose to do what He does, but must trust "He is love".

  41. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Rob, sorry for the late response. I've been out of town and unable to post anything. --- The people of Jericho were anything but "unsuspecting." They knew what was about to happen and the bible says they were "melting with fear." Jericho was a city that was steeped in idolatry. If you read the whole story; God warned the Israelites to throw away any of the "devoted things" from that city because it was basically lethal to the entire nation of Israel. One guy kept some of it and ended up getting his entire family stoned to death by the Israelites at God's command. This story once again highlights what I'm saying in this blog. If you stick with "God is love" you are left to take a second look at the power of idolatry and how it attaches itself to entire nations.

  42. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    This story shows me what a REALLY BIG DEAL this sin of idol worship was and it's potential to destroy israel and ultimately even contaminate the seed through which the Messiah would later come from. The story also says that the people of Jericho "melted in fear" which is even more destructive and contagious. It's interesting that this was the case with the first group of people the jews faced after being in the desert for 40 years because of FEAR. Anyway, if you read on after the story of Jericho, it goes on to tell about the guy who was enticed by the religious articles from Jericho and what happened to him and his family. It just gives you a picture of the seriousness of all this and how terribly destructive it is to humans.

  43. Gravatar
    Rob

    Thanks for the clarification, Darin. I have been basking in the love that God has for us. You and the words of Jesus, along with a few other writers and some friends that I am the church with, have been most helpful in bringing me to this place. Perhaps I need to do what has been suggested and reread the Old Testament with this new understanding of His love. Maybe I will gain a better understanding of what you are saying.

  44. Gravatar
    jenny

    This might sound silly but we assume life is better at any cost. We don't have the right to decide that I hasten to add, but God as the giver of life has the right to decide when people are if I say it bluntly better off dead? And I think that way especially for the children, though at first glance that may seem unloving and heartless, but maybe God decided they were better off with Him. Or is this oversimplistic?

  45. Gravatar
    jenny

    Sorry for asking a question here. This blog is my only contact with "free believers" as yet; don't know anyone personally and haven't got hold of any books yet but what about Job?

  46. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Jenny, God never promised to save us from pain or hardship. We all go through those things in life.

  47. Gravatar
    jenny

    I always knew that but what worried me was well ... here goes - the idea of God deliberately telling Satan to harm Job just to prove a point. Like I would not say to someone "You can go take away everything I've ever given my kids and I'll leave the doors open one night and not lift as finger while you beat them up and they'll still love me so go do it." But I have thought and thought about it and all I can think of is it is about relationship between God and Job, and their characters, not the argument. Satan was up to no good. He was out to assassinate the character of both God and Job. (The bad stuff was going to happen.) God and Job had a relationship; God TRUSTED JOB - maybe that's the part we miss. God and Job were in this together. It wasn't God versus satan and Job the pawn at all.

  48. Gravatar
    jenny

    And they probably still talk about how they socked it to him!!!

  49. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I have to say Jenny I agree with you on this. I never appreciated the God and Satan game they played with Job. I understand that there is probably stuff left out of the story that would explain it all better, but the way it's written it really sucks.

  50. Gravatar
    Brettact2

    Hi Jenny.

    Here's an excellent article on the purpose of the book of Job as seen thru the eyes of the Ancient Near East culture - the context in which and to which it was written.

    http://www.gregboyd.org/essays/essays-bible/the-point-of-the-book-of-job/

    The author is a former atheist, a philosophy professor who is now a teaching pastor. I've found his works to be non-traditional and often based on sound reasoning and a questing exploration of Scriptural text, with little regard for tradition. He is also holds to open theism, a view of God as not controlling the universe, but engaging it with incredible personal resources. It eliminates a lot of mental gymnastics of traditional theology. I mention this because it is the crux of his article.

    Enjoy.

  51. Gravatar
    jenny

    Thanks Darin and Brett. I've made peace with the book of Job. Whatever it is it is not a study of God's love for me.

  52. Gravatar
    Hannah

    Hi Brett, I've just read the article by Greg Boyd you suggested. fascinating! it explains quite a lot, but at the same time, i guess it's a bit disheartening because it suggests that God isn't ultimately in control... So it takes the pressure off of "God's will or not" but then i guess rips off the comfort blanket of "but God is always able to right things"... it raises the question of is/will He actually? Furthermore, is Jeremiah 29:11 ("For I know the plans I have for you....") more of a general theme than specific purposes? and as Boyd says God wasn't expecting Satan to be there... Is God not omniscient after all? Could he not know the future, or what we will decide before we do? Not to bombard... I'm genuinely intrigued...

  53. Gravatar
    Brett

    Hi Hannah. It can be a bit unnerving at first. Consider: in the arena of God's control there is a scope of freedom granted to each level of existence. Within the human level, because we are designed for relation - based living, our response to God's guidance (whether corporate or personal aspects) brings us under the sovereignty of God, and out of the realm of chaos, where other forces (enemy, world, flesh) rule. In this divine relationship God guides us, according to the plans we give Him the freedom to implement on our behalf. This doesn't eliminate choice. Greg has other material on his sight that fleshs this out better. Also, he spends considerable time on the nature of omniscience. He has a quite impressive view of God as omni-intelligent, forseeing & able to handle all possibilities.

  54. Gravatar
    Brett

    To continue: There isn't enough space to cover the many scriptures & rich reasoning that go into this subject. I think initially we find a number of things disheartening in the wild. The IC sugar-coated Christianity to make it sellable to the masses. The philosophy of romanticism was also heavily incorporated, to build an artificial surface love that everyone could readily buy into. However, as we let go of the false for the true, we find a much more awesome revelation of God. And, it takes a stronger, more mature character than one could typically obtain, living in the IC cage. As you sink your teeth into what you find to be true it will enrich and energize you as the awesome possibilities emerge, because you are no longer always in guilt, looking for a mysterious will of God. Liberty.

  55. Gravatar
    Jeannine

    "God is Love", I have to agree sounds flaky to me most of the time. I don't trust him most of the time. I feel I make the good in my life and I also make the bad in my life. But then I get to those points in my life where I have really messed it up and good still comes out of it - thats when I have to give credit where credit is due. I wish I could live where I believed "God is Love" all the time. I understand that I can alter my truth (and really what is truth) to perceive it as my God loves me and wants the best for me. I guess it comes down to trusting him. He has shown a million ways that he loves me but I still can't marry him. There has been many things that I have thought were the truth but it turned out to be lies and deception. I guess I don't even trust my own thinking.

  56. Gravatar
    Hannah

    Hi again Brett. So sorry for the delay. I have to agree with you. even in this short span of time, I see where the awesome possibilities really do look a little less daunting and much more exciting! I guess it's just breaking loose of the comfort blanket of not taking the personal responsibility we should that sends a little shiver down the spine - little cold gust of reality! and a little shiver that you didn't even realize you were wrapped up and 'snuggled' in so tightly! not to say it still isn't a wee bit scary at times... but hey, it will be... ten days wont do that much hehe. read some more of Greg Boyd... wow. I had never heard of the Annihalation Theory. It touched my heart SO much. I feel God lifted a huge burden in that area of my relationship with him. anyhow, thanks so much!!

  57. Gravatar
    Tessie

    Love your book Darin – telling lots of people about it!
    I also see the “Lake of Fire” this way too – the fire of His Love burning, and it will burn away all “Adam” and all its effects – suffering, sickness, pain etc. When I say this people who see that God is Love respond positively, but those focussed on wrath get angry and tell me how mad I am! Maybe I am mad but give me God is Love and my madness than the opposite any day. (Maybe I’m wrong about the Lake of Fire but I guess I’ll find out if I am!)

  58. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Tessie I like the way you think. Whether you're wrong or right doesn't matter me. I think that's a brilliant idea. LOVE it.

  59. Gravatar
    peggy

    Still confusing to me. God is love. I understand you talking about the angles you see things. But for example , killing all the first borns because pharoah would not comply still makes God seem pretty monstrous. Those babies or children did not deserve it. It is like me killing my Grandson because his father would not obey. Sorry. Still tormented by the old testament.

  60. Gravatar
    Dale

    "They think the Old Testament was an unfortunate string of events where God was full of hate and wrath, but once He had a Son, He settled down and became a family man." Darin, you have such a unique way of looking at things and I laughed my head off when I read this! But it is so true. And until I read this today, I can count myself among those who basically saw God in this way. So many times I would hear the preachers say that God is the same and never changes...but that was impossible for me to reconcile. Thanks Darin.

  61. Gravatar
    Robbie

    I guess something in me witnesses that God must be Love.I have a problem that keeps on confusing me and preventing me from seeing God as the Loving Father.Why did He create mankind knowing full well that many would end up in Hell?I believe I accepted Christ at first because I was afraid of Hell...guess thats ok as who wants to go there anyway.

  62. Gravatar
    Janet Ross

    Awesome stuff. Slowly re-learning. I only read the bible when God directs me to. When I do it myself I always have another reason to beat myself up... when I read what He tells me to a completely different & lovely Papa emerges.

  63. Gravatar
    E A Cole

    Darin,
    In our current culture I believe that many, when reading “God is Love,” believe that “Love is God” to be equally true. But they are not the same thing at all. Satan twists God's truth into a lie and then uses it to alienate us from Him.

    Believing Love is God leads to crises of faith. One example of this is your OT scenario. Or, we find ourselves loving someone in a way that God condemns-physical love outside of marriage for example, but use Love is God to excuse it. We say, how can love be a sin? Or, when we are having troubles and God does not send us the answer we are looking for we say how can God be Love when He is allowing this.

    Love is God answers none of these; God is Love addresses them all. So, to me God is Love is very important to understand correctly and your blog adds greatly to that understanding.

  64. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I understand what you're saying but on the same note I'm not sure how much of a crisis it really is. I personally believe that God is love and love is God. It's all the same. I totally get what you're saying but if you think about it, in your illustration about someone being in an unholy sexual relationship and then calling it "God" - the fact is, THAT'S NOT LOVE. Scripture tells us exactly what love is. If people want to go outside of that and then call it God, their blood be on their own head. I believe that TRUE LOVE is the same as God. You can't have one without the other. Yes, people will use their own fleshy interpretation of love in an attempt to make it god, but they would be wrong. When people accuse me of preaching a "hippy" philosophy on love I always ask, "Are you telling me you believe THAT is love"? Always,s their answer is "NO."

    Does that make sense?

  65. Gravatar
    shohanali

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  66. Gravatar
    Curtis

    Hi Darin,
    The Holy Spirit one day, confirmed something, that I now have to believe. That is in my own personal life, but you are quite interesting in the usage of marrying yourself to God is Love.
    Do I imagine that is merely a 'coined phrase' of yours? Or do you mean literally you or anyone can choose to marry God, without His asking you to do so?
    I could leave this off here, but since I may never hear from you again, I will say more. However you have my e-mail should I not be able to contact you and you wish otherwise.
    This I hold to be inerrant: "Jesus in infinitely,infinitely,infinitely and then some tender and mild" "It is the reason, He Loves" Therefore because He and His Father are one, in many many ways, God the Father is also the same as Jesus in that REGARD. Similarly The Holy Spirit is also, with one exception, which is off the point"
    Reading the Bible with the knowledge that God Is and what He is, is "Infinitely,infinitely,infinitely tender and then some...I will cont.

  67. Gravatar
    Curtis

    So using the reason that Jesus loves, reading the Bible in that way yields what you find. Being hurt by God, like your mother might have to, to keep you or others from a greater harm to great to allow, further, can be mistaken, for "The Big Bad God of the universe being other than what He is: Infinitely...tender and mild"
    On another subject, why do all the preachers in the world not seem to care about God enough to research Him? Of course the answer is that God does not cause them to do the work. I sometimes wish God caused everyone not to rest or be comfortable until they researched, not what others say about God, but what is provably true.
    For instance, I know of Christian (not non Christian) mystics who have had this or that encounter with part of God, and it is heavily shunned. They even hide out from all church officials, for the most part. Remember, I am not talking of mysticism, the practice of talking to evil spirits, but those who have been spoken to in some way by God.

  68. Gravatar
    Curtis

    So,
    Your method is so wonderfuly accurate you have learned much. Did someone say earlier they do not understand Job, in tthe sense they did not know what happened there.
    It is this, when and if God decides to talk to someone personally, then the person no knows a lot of things previously unknown. Paul. Job. Abraham all saw God personally in some way.
    Job did not know what happened, until God spoke with Him. The main issue with God was you did not know what I was doing? You did not. Job though knew what happened with Satan after merely (if that word can ever be used in this context), seeing God.
    He recanted and said he was wrong, after merely seeing God. He also was able to write about what happened with God and Satan, afterwards.
    We know also from that encounter, God limits what Satan can and cannot do. We know that some to all of Job's friends were not right about what they said about God. Therefore we know that part is wrong in what that says about God...cont'd

  69. Gravatar
    Curtis

    ...cont'd. There is so much that is wonderful, once one knows that what God says Is true and is a command and is a promise and is love.
    There is so much that I can tell you, but to merely know what you do is wonderful.
    Jesus said: Love consists of this not that you have loved but that you have been loved. God defines love, not the Greeks and not us, as Doing the Will of the one, or of what you love. God by loving us has done our will. Which will? The one we don't even normally know we have. The will to be right with God, such that we can know Him and live with Him, ETERNALLY.
    He did our secret or unknown will. We have been loved. The Bible is Real, if real is defined as 'it is true, where it. says it is true. it is false whare it says it is false' However when one reads the bible, do tthey know this? Do they know who The Lord is and who My Lord is as David said it? God The Father in Psalms 2 is The Lord. Jesus is My Lord there. See if it is not so..... there is more. I leave...

  70. Gravatar
    Curtis

    I leave,
    Did you marry God, actually???? Did He accept your marriage proposal???

  71. Gravatar
    Kathie

    Darin,
    There were many times in my life that I should have died. I questioned at one time, why am I still here. There was a time when I even prayed to him to take me because I became so I'll that I didn't want to live! Then I had a revelation as I layed in the hospital for 51 days, I honestly heard him tell me that he loved me and that it was not time for me yet! I am 54 years old, I have Crohn's disease and multiple sclerosis and I believe in God himself. God fits the back for the burden! I truly walk with him every step I take he is with me. Thank you for saying such true words! Sometimes we doubt his love for whatever reason, but never doubt that he is always with you! I am living proof that he does exist!

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