31 Days of Feasting on Theology: Apostolic Fathers

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Gentle Reader,

Apostolic Fathers: Church leaders who served in the first generation following the death of the Apostles. Includes: Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna, Marcion, Justin Martyr, Ireneaus of Lyons, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian.

Related Concepts and/or Examples

Didache – written teaching from this era

Shepherd of Hermas – also from this era

Church History 101 – easy-to-follow exploration

Life of Justin Martyr – brief biographical information

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For all entries in the 31 Days of Feasting on Theology series, go here.

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31 Days of Feasting on Theology: Chesed

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Gentle Reader,

Chesed: Hebrew word for God’s loving kindness toward Israel. His loyal love and covenant faithfulness. Enduring and eternal.

Related Concepts and/or Examples

From Hesed to Agape – comparing and contrasting the Hebrew and Greek terms

Arminian Covenant Theology – an exploration of chesed and the covenant by Vic Reasoner

The Unconditional Love of God – short devotional reading

God is Kind – a selection of Bible verses

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For all entries in the 31 Days of Feasting on Theology series, go here.

31 Days of Feasting on Theology: Kenosis

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Gentle Reader,

Kenosis: Christ’s “self-emptying.” The external exchange by which He laid aside the “form of God” and took on the “form of man.” During the Incarnation, Jesus chose to operate within some of the limitations of humanity (i.e., He was not omnipresent).

Related Concepts and/or Examples

What Is the Kenosis? – a place to begin

A Consideration of the Christological Hymn of Philippians 2 – an old paper of mine that touches on kenosis

Kenosis – scholarly definition

Kenotic Theory – prominent views

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For all entries in the 31 Days of Feasting on Theology series, go here.

Five Minute Friday: Discover

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com (2)

Gentle Reader,

Chop the zucchini. Beat the egg. Sift the flour.

Form into patties. Hands drip with moisture and yolk.

Ssssssssssssssss. Hot olive oil and even hotter skillet. Crackling, bubbling.

Sounds and scents all humans recognize.

Kate says: discover.

Go.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

– James 3:13-18 (NKJV)

Sometimes, probably more often than not, we don’t know what’s in our own hearts. The bitter envy, in our eyes, is nothing more than wanting “better” for ourselves. The self-seeking is just “not understanding” why someone else got that job or that thing. We’re so good at rationalizing and justifying and explaining.

We’re so self-deceptive. In fact, we’re masters at it.

Because we deserve what others have. It’s not right or fair that they have it and we don’t.

But the Holy Spirit, He just doesn’t let us get away unconfronted. He pokes and prods and shines His brilliant flashlight into the dark corners. He consistently, unendingly points out the things that don’t please Him, don’t honor Him.

And then we discover the things we rather wouldn’t. That the envy chokes relationships. That the self-seeking is really self-destruction, no matter how successful we might look outwardly. That the self-destruction reaches out and destroys others, even the others that we don’t envy.

It’s all very ugly and painful.

We can choose to sit there in the stink and throw a fit. We can turn away from the evidence that’s plain as day. We can, in essence, tell God that’s He’s stupid.

Or we can ask Him to scrub us clean. We can ask Him to give us new hearts. We can ask Him to give us the kind of wisdom that is always loving, always peace-making, always life-giving. We can swallow our pride, eat the humble pie and do whatever needs to be done to make things right.

Justification happens in a moment. Sanctification takes a lifetime. It’s a journey of discovery, of learning that we really are what Scripture says we are – sinners in possession of corrupt hearts that we can never understand on our own. But it’s also learning that God really is who Scripture says He is. Infinitely patient, completely kind, always doing what is best for us, His children.

In knowing who we are and who God is – there’s freedom. Because we don’t have to make ourselves great anymore. We don’t have to step on others. We don’t have to worry about reputation and success and followers and fame. We can settle into the arms of the One whose Name will last forever, long after ours has faded into dust. We can melt into Him, become consumed by Him, live to glorify Him.

And there we’ll discover all we truly want.

Stop.

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