Tag Archives: Christian

The Supernatural God: Let’s go all Apocalypse!

So far, we’ve learned that what we see in this dimension is a fraction of what exists. Biblical Elohim represents disembodied spirits; some are trusted, and some are rebels.  Satan was the first rebel; the Watchers and inheritors of the nations followed. Also, YHVH began reclaiming the nations at Pentecost, and there’ll be a day of reckoning for Satan and all anti-YHVH beings. Here, I’ll introduce that day and hint at a return to Eden-like conditions.

First, I’m an ‘end times’ guy, having written, published, and taught on the subject for several decades. I’m well-equipped to teach on the subject. A quick internet search should reveal my background, credentials, and published work.

Second, we can glean some things through an unveiling of end-times stuff. That revelation is called the ‘apocalypse.’ It’s about the future. However, I’d like to introduce it by bringing up the past and homing in on evil Elohim influencers, such as the one that moved an ancient Persian ruler, and Satan. Then, I’ll unveil the coming cosmic battle, heaven on earth, judgment, and re-creation. Rebels first.

Human-influencing Elohim rebels. These include the ‘Principality of Persia’ reported by Daniel (Daniel 10:13 & 20) and Satan, also labeled as the ‘dragon’ (Revelation 20:2). He was the driving force behind Antichrist forerunners Nimrod at Babel and second-century BCE Antiochus Epiphanes. Satan continued trying to elevate himself above YHVH through them, and he will influence the future figure we (not the Bible) call the Antichrist. Influenced by ‘the dragon,’ Antichrist will have authority over YHVH’s people (Jew and Christian) for a while (e.g., Revelation 12:13-17) and set the stage for a cosmic clash that will usher in a new age.

The cosmic battle. YHVH will end Antichrist’s authority. That time will also see the gathering of Christ’s followers (past and present), the Antichrist’s destruction, and Satan’s arrest after a series of destructive precursors to the penultimate battle between good and evil. Why penultimate? You’ll see!

Heaven on earth. The first (penultimate) cosmic battle will pave the way for Jesus’ Kingdom of Peace (Revelation 19-20). Old Testament prophets spoke of this time, which will end with the ultimate good-and-evil battle (Revelation 20:7-10). Afterward, YHVH will judge everyone from all time and return creation to Eden-like conditions for eternal peace and hanging out with Him again.

Judgment and re-creation. Jesus initially revealed the end-times judgment by illustrating obedient sheep and disobedient goats (Matthew 25:31-46). He does it again in Revelation 20:11-15. The point is to equip God with New Eden partners with whom He’ll dwell again in His re-creation—more about this in the next series.

Summary: Elohim’s cosmic end-times conflict and an eventual return to Eden have been unveiled! In the following several articles, we’ll start there and reverse engineer the ‘last days.’ In the meantime, remember that religion is for people, not God; taking part in His story is for Him.

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.

The Supernatural God: Many with One Mind!

As a young boy, I asked my pastor to explain God’s origin and the Trinity. His answer went like this: “God was always around. He became different things when needed: the Creator, then Jesus who left heaven to come to earth, and His Spirit sometimes.” The visual was a fluid God blob. It was a stupid answer, but I didn’t know how to explain it better. Fifty-some-odd years later, I can and want to introduce you to Elohim and their ruler and ours, YHVH (the Hebrew consonants naming the Creator and pronounced Jehovah or Yahweh).

Others existed before this earth’s creation. So, unsurprisingly, they were present at creation (Job 38:7), in Eden (Ezekiel 28:12-19), and in governing all but Israel (Deuteronomy 32:8-9). This group of disembodied spirits is labeled Elohim in ancient Hebrew and identifies angels, Jesus, the Creator, Holy Spirit, and others. Many compose God’s Divine Council. Let’s dig deeper into Elohim YHVH and Elohim as a divine council before finishing with Elohim, the rebels.

Elohim, the Creator & Ruler. God, as we know Him, created everything and has had many labels and roles. But He has only one name: YHVH. He is the God who will be our provider, shepherd, and healer when we are fully devoted to Him. He rules creation, including all Elohim, and seeks willing partners in His dimension and ours despite the risk of rebellion.

Elohim, the Divine Council. Collectively, Elohim has always had a place as a spiritual council headed by YHVH. Our existence began like this: “Then Elohim said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule . . .’” (Genesis 1:26). Therefore, we’re meant to be imagers of God—doing and saying here what the Creator and His council do and say in their realm. Jesus reports this like-mindedness (John 5:9 and 14:10). Job mentions this assembly of the ‘sons of God’ (Job 1:6). We see them advising YHVH about Ahab in 1 Kings 22:19-23, and the Psalmist reflects on this holy council in Psalm 89:5-7. Finally, the apostle John sees them in an end-times vision (Revelation 4). However, many have gone rogue (e.g., Psalm 82).

Elohim, the Rebels. Spiritual rebellion happened multiple times during and after Eden. First, Lucifer rebelled and lost his authority. Then, ‘watchers’ appointed to protect humans rebelled and were relegated to the underworld. You can read about this in the books of Enoch and Jasher, both mentioned in our Bible. After Babel, God gave members of His council authority over all nations except Israel (Deuteronomy 32:8-9); they went rogue (e.g., Psalm 82 and Daniel 10:12-13 & 20).

In summary, Elohim represents disembodied spirits. Some are part of a divine council led by YHVH with one mind and mission. Some are rebels. So, we’ll next explore further YHVH’s disinheritance of the nations and Elohim rebellion.

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.

The Supernatural God: An Introduction

Look around. What you see exists within a single dimension. But what about what you can’t see? Are there other dimensions where beings create, advise, and influence people in this dimension? Yep!

Although humans reduce the supernatural God of creation to words and religion, there’s much more! Of course, written biblical texts inform our Christian walk. And religion helps us frame and practice our worship. But the texts and religion result from the speech and actions of a multi-dimensional supernatural God. His words were written down for people who could respond, in turn, with religious activities and right living. His actions, also documented, help us understand His nature. Regardless, the supernatural has driven what we read and do in the Christian faith. So, we’ll plumb the depths of God corporately as a heavenly council (Elohim) and individually as the Creator (YHVH).

This week, I’ll equip you to later explore Elohim, a biblical label for spiritual beings. We’ll then learn about the supernatural forces controlling earthly nations and rulers (except Israel) and how they received that authority. Finally, we’ll uncover the end-times supernatural players and events that will realign everything according to the Creator’s desire. But first, let’s look at two extremes that keep us from meeting or understanding our supernatural God: words alone and emotion mistaken for the Spirit. Words first.

A real risk of “worshipping the book” and missing God entirely exists when we dismiss the supernatural, earliest Christian traditions, faith experienced, and reason. I’ve witnessed extremes where the supernatural Spirit has no place in today’s Christianity. The supernaturally influenced Bible itself is elevated above practicing the precepts contained within, such as justice, love, and mercy. And countless rules, regulations, and bad theology abuse people and keep others from God’s Kingdom. On the other hand, ignoring the words in favor of pursuing perceived supernatural stuff alone is just as bad.

Without the Bible to frame and direct our faith, anything goes. I’ve witnessed severe abuses where people have barked, laughed hysterically, claimed to see gold dust, smelled stuff, fallen over, babbled unproductively, and much more. Add to the list fraudsters and adulterers because congregants were too Scripturally ignorant to recognize evil. However, there’s a better position where the supernatural God driving the creation of the words continues to interact spiritually with people who strive to understand and apply them correctly. In other words, balance is critical to rightly perceiving our supernatural God and imitating Him.

In summary, what we see in this dimension is a fraction of what exists here and in others—much of which drove what we read in the Bible and still influences people. In the following article, we’ll look closer at Elohim, that single-minded, one-mission group of supernaturals led by YHVH (Jehovah), God the Creator. We’ll also dig deeper into the gods that must take a backseat to Him.

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.

Building Faith the Wesley Way!

Devote, grow, abide, and go are essential elements in our relationship with God through Jesus. But how can we devote ourselves to a God we don’t understand or grow when we’re unsure of how? Abide in what and how if all we have are words thousands of years old without context, sound guidance, or meaningful application? And go where and why?

The truth is that faith, devotion, and staying power are built by hearing, seeing, experiencing, and supernatural guidance. John Wesley understood this and developed a four-pronged approach to understanding the things of God and, I would argue, enjoying spiritual growth. The four parts we call the ‘Wesleyan Quadrilateral’ are Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason. I’ll add one more: the supernatural. Let’s unpack each.

Scripture. The Bible is central to our faith. Authoritative information in it should frame our thoughts and actions. Of course, this can only happen when we correctly read it, understand what we’ve read, and apply what we’ve learned. This is where tradition, experience, and reason—all formed by correctly interpreted and applied Scripture—come in.

Tradition. We’re 2,000 years removed from the New Testament authors. Most of us aren’t Jewish, know nothing about the TaNaKh (the writings, the Law, and the prophets Jesus referenced), or read biblical Greek or Hebrew. And most people understand nothing of the original poetry or figures of speech that made the Scriptures so rich and applicable. Our ignorance has often resulted in destructive doctrines and unholy practices. Wesley believed that doctrine must align with orthodox Christian traditions, probably to reduce that risk. In other words, we must consider how the earliest Church understood and experienced biblical texts or concepts.

Experience. Belief about God and Christ without action is useless, fruitless, and fuel for destruction. Faith must be experienced in several ways, including love, justice, mercy, and introducing God’s Kingdom to others. It then becomes an experience for the giver and receiver, the teacher and the learner. One more thing: everything in the Scriptures was born out of experiences. God created and spoke through prophets; someone wrote it down. History and genealogy happened; someone wrote it down. A vision was received or a prayer happened; someone wrote it down. You get the point.

Reason. God gave us a brain to help us make sense of things and rationally defend what we believe. For instance, “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD (Isaiah 1:18). Also, check out 1 Peter 3:15. Don’t divorce logic from faith!

The supernatural. God’s Spirit, given freely to Jesus’ followers, provides wisdom and helps clarify otherwise difficult things.

In summary, the Bible, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, should frame our traditions, experiences, and theological reasoning. These things working together help us understand God’s nature and what He desires and apply what we learn meaningfully. Next, I’ll take you on an exciting journey about our Supernatural God.

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.

Spiritual Donuts

Muscle cars, parking lots, and hot chicks! Yep. You’ve gotta love the seventies and eighties (or not)! Reminiscing, I thought: “Ron! Remember punching the accelerator on your car in a parking lot to hear all the ‘squeaking’ and smell burnt rubber? Remember how you thought the girls would be impressed?” My response to myself: “Well, of course!” And my answer to my reply? “Ron! You were an idiot! You wasted gas, used up perfectly good clutches and tires, and ended up dateless anyway!” Sigh . . . It’s true. But the situation made me think: “Do we do something similar in our Christianity: spin around in circles, pointlessly wasting resources?” The simple answer is YES!

First, let’s look at the God-given resources we often waste or keep to ourselves. These are meant to empower us to be effective partners in introducing people to His Kingdom, and they include spiritual skills, superpowers, and assignments:

Skills. In Ephesians 4:11-16, Paul explains that the Spirit enables people to become Christian apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. You can also add helpers and administrators to the list (1 Corinthians 12:28). For what purpose? To equip others in the Body of Christ to be faithful, helpful, and complete.

Superpowers. Furthermore, the Spirit occasionally empowers us to do really cool stuff at a particular time and for a specific reason according to God’s desires. These ‘superpowers’ include wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, spiritual discernment, and human and heavenly languages (1 Corinthians 12:4-11 & 28).

Assignments. We were made, and are equipped, for doing good works (Ephesians 2:10). We must honor God with all we are and have and be charitable (Matthew 22:34-40). And we must make the most of every moment by being righteous as He desires (Ephesians 5:13-21).

Second, spiritually doing donuts by not using our God-given resources and wasting what’s good and meant for others is genuinely robbing God! Sharing what He has given to build up His people is impossible, though, if we don’t hang out with them: “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together . . ..” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Stealing from God, forsaking others, and wasting God-given gifts and skills by ‘spinning spiritual wheels’ will have consequences! For instance, in the parable of the talents: “. . . . Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:14-30) And Jesus repeats this fate in Matthew 25:31-46.

In summary, God wishes to equip you for partnership in this age and the next. Don’t be wasteful or stingy! What’s next? Soon, I’ll take you on an exciting journey about our Supernatural God and a Return to Eden. But first, I’ll teach you what John Wesley understood about well-rounded faith-building that goes way beyond written words.

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.

Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds are precious. They begin insignificant but become prized after enduring extreme pressure and heat. The stuff? Simple carbon. Ordinarily, pressure and heat come from the earth over time. Diamonds can be created artificially much faster, but the process remains the same: apply pressure and heat to the right stuff. Christian growth works similarly: the right stuff enduring life’s stresses and purification’s heat. Are you a godly diamond in the making?

You may be a God-desired diamond if . . . you know God and respond accordingly. Knowing God and His nature is easy: it’s all over the Bible (just study it and hang out with more-mature Christians)! You’ll find He’s kind and just (fair but firm). His Spirit will be happy to help you understand Him fully (Luke 10:21 and John 14:26). Our response? Purity (1 Corinthians 6:20). Devotion and charity (Matthew 22:30-35). Justice and mercy (Micah 6:8). Discipleship (e.g., Matthew 28:18-20). Obedience: “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” (1 John 2:3). Follow (John 10:27). But you can’t keep or follow what you don’t know or ignore! Stay the course, and God will know you too.

You may be a God-desired diamond if . . . God knows you because you know Him and respond as He desires. “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God . . .” (Galatians 4:9) and “But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” (1 Corinthians 8:3). Hint: You can’t love what you don’t know!

You may be a God-desired diamond if . . . you and God know each other, and the relationship empowers you to endure life’s pressures. God didn’t say we’ll never suffer in this world (to the contrary!). Still, He promised to walk with us (e.g., Matthew 5:4). Know that pressure is necessary for growth and hope: “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4 (see also James 1:2-4)).

You ARE a God-desired diamond if you know God, God knows you, and you remain His despite incredible pressure. For instance, Jesus said that if we love Him, we’ll remain (stay steadfast in our relationship) and that He and the Father will do the same with us in return (John 14:23 and 15:4-10).

In summary, know God and relate so He’ll know you too. Then, endure and stay and model that to others. The results? “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3). Shine on you godly diamonds! What’s next? Ever feel like you’re spinning your spiritual wheels? Me too! Let’s look at doing donuts in a spiritual parking lot.

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.

There’s Nothing Original About Sin: The Cure

In my last article, I taught that sin is rebellion against God—initially by a spirit and then by humans. We continue to sin against God and people through enlightenment and choice. Before we delve into a sin cure, I need to stress that we’re talking about two categories of sin: the first that separated us from God and created a debt we couldn’t satisfy, and ongoing sins that threaten to keep us from God. Both are settled differently.

The initial human sin. Our Creator promised that One would eventually make things right and offer a way back. We call Him Jesus, and He willingly sacrificed Himself for ALL people (John 3:16 and 12:32; Acts 17:30-31; 1 Timothy 2:3-11 and 4:10; Hebrews 2:9; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:2-6). This was God’s call and love for us. He then raised Jesus from the dead to give hope to all who would become His. How? By responding in complete devotion (e.g., 1 Peter 1:3-5). The resulting ‘cleansing’ is the ‘bathing’ in Jesus and Peter’s upper room discussion (Greek ‘louo’ in John 13:10—see my article “Been Cleaned, Being Cleaned!”(March 2022)). This and the ongoing category of sin have one thing in common: a relationship with God through devotion and perseverance. Curing persistent sin can be difficult, though, because it requires permanent change.

Ongoing sin. God gives His Spirit to those who are His for guidance and change—transformation (Romans 12:1-2). In our journey forward, we must learn what God desires and do that, what He hates, and DON’T do that! Enlightenment and growth help us to deal with temptations so they don’t turn into sin in the first place.

But when we sin (and we will!), we must repent—change our behavior to enable forgiveness. This is the ‘washing’ in John 13:5-10 (Greek nipto), and it’s necessary to ensure we don’t practice sin! Regardless of the offense, practicing it will earn a spiritual death sentence (e.g., Galatians 5:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Besides enlightenment by the Spirit, avoiding sin, and repentance, there’s another aid in sin cure: other people.

Christians are to assess other Christians’ behavior and help them remain in a relationship with God (1 Corinthians 5:6-13; James 5:19-20; Matthew 18:15-17). Unfortunately, we usually misinterpret Jesus’ “Do not judge” and “first take the log out of your own eye” of Matthew 7:1-5 and, therefore, don’t change our behavior or help others avoid or resolve sin. Yet, we are first to resolve our sinful behavior so that we can help others resolve theirs.

In summary, the debt incurred by the first human rebellion against God was covered by Jesus. He has called, so respond well! Ongoing rebellion (sin) is satisfied through repentance: a change in behavior from a new heart. What’s next? Let’s lighten things up a bit and encourage you diamonds in the making!

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.

There’s Nothing Original About Sin: The Ailment

Few Christian things are more misunderstood or weaponized than the idea of sin. What is simple rebellion against God out of awareness of good and bad possibilities became polluted and misapplied by the fourth century CE. And many people or institutions today will gladly determine which behaviors are sinful. But what is sin? Was there an ‘original sin?’ How did religion distort a simple understanding of it and its cure? We’ll explore the answers in this first of two articles.

What is sin? Simply put, based on the original language and biblical contexts, it’s rebellion—intentionally missing a mark. What mark? God’s righteousness (His standard). Miss it but correct course, and [spiritually] live. Miss it repeatedly, and self-imposed permanent separation from God awaits (e.g., Galatians 5:19-21).

Was there an ‘original’ sin? Yes, but perhaps not like you’ve learned. Augustine was responsible for our Western understanding of ‘original sin.’ For him, the first sin was Adam’s rebellion in the garden, and its perpetual curse must be transmitted through sexual intercourse. His theory involved mistranslating and, therefore, misinterpreting the biblical Greek of Romans 5:12. The problem? Instead of consequences occurring BECAUSE of Adam’s rebellion, the misinterpretation prompted Augustine to teach that a perpetual sex-reproduced sin curse started THROUGH Adam. The truth about sin and its origin is simpler, however.

The original sin wasn’t human but spiritual. Lucifer (aka Satan) rebelled (sinned) against God and lost his heavenly position. He tempted Eve to sin; she tempted Adam. They rebelled against God’s instructions by eating from the ‘tree of all knowledge’ (Genesis 3:1-7). As a result, humans lost access to the Tree of Life and, therefore, suffer physical death (Genesis 3:22-24). Because we no longer live and walk with God as the first humans did before their rebellion, we also suffer spiritual separation from Him that requires resolution. The enlightenment gleaned by Adam and Eve remains available to be abused by choice.

How has religion distorted sin and its cure? The only remedy for Augustine’s original sin was, and is, baptism—even for infants. For many, the unbaptized are hell-bound, even from birth. For others, sin isn’t a manifestation of a heart or mind issue but actions themselves, regardless of intention: “Don’t drink; don’t smoke; don’t dance; don’t play cards . . .” Some religious leaders will tell you that sin and hell are nonexistent. And others will insist that you’ll go to hell if you don’t say or do something after each ‘sin.’ All these ‘miss the mark.’

In summary, sin is rebellion against God. The first was by a spiritual being, and sin by humans followed. We continue to rebel against God because of enlightenment and choice. In the following article, we’ll conclude by exploring the cure for the initial human rebellion that separated us from God and the ongoing sins that ail us.  

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.

To Be or Not to Be!

“To be or not to be—that is the question!” This quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet meant to ponder whether to live or die. This week’s article is similar, and it addresses ‘being’ in God’s Kingdom: Be and live . . . or don’t be and [spiritually] die. But be what? And what matters more: words or actions; speech or Christianity in motion?

The answer should be obvious, but let’s have fun getting there. Words can be cheap or useless—especially if there’s no accompanying action. It’s more about what we do, not what we say. And if our words don’t match our actions or are venomous, we may keep people from God’s Kingdom by making it unattractive or out of reach!

Don’t say you love—be loving. Don’t say ‘Jesus is Lord’—make Him Lord by devoting all you have and are to Him (this complete devotion is what we confess in Romans 10:9). Don’t throw out a bunch of Christianese people don’t understand and call it evangelism! SHOW them God’s Kingdom through charity, justice, and mercy, using words when it makes sense—and only meaningful terms and relative examples! If you feel adventurous, Google the Letter to Diognetus.

In it, an early first-century Church father (most likely Clement) tells Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ tutor about the behavior of persecuted Christians who lived according to Jesus’ teachings and God’s ways within their communities. The focus was on the behavior of Christians who didn’t isolate themselves but brought God’s Kingdom near to the people in their cultures by ‘being.’ No bullying. No programs. No Chick Tracts. Now, THAT’S an attractional Church!

We, too, can ‘be’ in what I call ‘be-attitudes’ (yes, I meant the pun!).

  • Be truthful. “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices . . .” (Colossians 3:9)
  • Be charitable.  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 – see also James 2:14-26 and Ephesians 2:10)
  • Be just and merciful. “. . . And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
  • Be sexually pure and active in response to God’s gift of life. “. . . For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

In summary, ‘be’ according to God’s desires and live. Be what? Truthful, charitable, merciful, pure, and wholly devoted to God. Now that we know ‘being’ is way better than ‘not being,’ let’s check out what we’re NOT to be as we define and dig into the origin of sin in a multi-part “There’s nothing original about sin!”

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.

Fixed by the Broken

We’re broken. But the Cure for what ails us spiritually has in His roots others who were broken but redeemed, including Gentiles and prostitutes who began looking for love in all the right places. Bad became good. I’ll explain after first correcting a biblical misinterpretation about Jesus’ lineage.

Matthew 1:16 incorrectly identifies Joseph as the husband of Mary in Jesus’ lineage. This Joseph was her father, not her husband. In the original language, he could’ve been her father or husband. But Scripture insists it’s the former. Consider this:

  • The rhythm of Matthew 1:1-17 is “ . . . the father of . . .” So, ending with “. . . the husband of . . .” doesn’t work.
  • Mary’s husband, Joseph, didn’t contribute to Jesus’ bloodline.
  • According to Matthew 1:17, there were 14 generations from Abraham to David (1:2-6, check!), 14 from David to the Babylonian deportation (1:6-11, Jeconiah – check!), and 14 from Jeconiah to Jesus (1:11-16). If Joseph in verse 16 is Mary’s husband, as incorrectly interpreted, then you end up with only 13 generations, and the text is wrong. But, with Joseph as her father in the lineage, the rhythm is consistent, and you get 14 generations.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’d like to focus on the seemingly broken out of which so much good came. One thing I’d like you to get out of this is that we’re never too bad, too broken, to be redeemed by God and used for His good while there’s breath within us. And status and education don’t determine our usefulness in God’s Kingdom!

Prostitutes and Gentiles. Tamar (Matthew 1:3) tricked King Judah into having sex with her by pretending to be a prostitute. Ruth (1:5) was a non-Jew (Gentile) who contributed to Jesus’ bloodline. The Gentile prostitute Rahab from Jericho gave birth to Boaz, the great-grandfather of David (1:6), who committed adultery and murder. But these broken people didn’t stay that way and became mighty in God’s Kingdom. It shouldn’t be any different for us!

The disciples. The earliest disciple-makers and Christian influencers included ruffians, zealots, a tax collector, a cheat, and people with attitude. For instance, Simon rebelled against Roman occupiers, Matthew collected taxes from a disgruntled Jewish population, and Judas Iscariot embezzled money from the disciples’ coffers. And we know about Peter’s temper! Yet, all played a vital role in God’s mission through Jesus.

In summary, God uses the uneducated and simple and turns seemingly bad into good to accomplish His mission to reconcile creation to Himself. What’s next? Well, words without corresponding actions are generally useless. What actions over speech does God desire? Find out in my next blog!

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.