The situation of Christians was not the same. Some had religious links with the Byzantine Empire, and may have incurred suspicion in times of war. They did not have the same close-knit communal organization as the Jews; in parts of the countryside they may not have been deeply Christian. In some places Christianity died out completely, although not for a long time; in others it remained as the faith of a minority.

A description of Christianity in the Middle East, Northern Africa and Spain during the 10th Century AD from: A History of the Arab Peoples,
Albert Hourani pp.47-8

Christianity & Islam, History

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Jesus, Peace

At our church, Trinity Church, we spend a good portion of the first Wednesday of every month in corporate prayer.

Last night we were encouraged to follow the Biblical imperative to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” in light of the global political issues surrounding the state of Israel and the state of Iran.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. (‭Psalm‬ ‭122‬:‭6‬ NIV)

What came to my mind as we began praying was Jesus’ understanding of what would bring peace to Jerusalem, recorded in the book of Luke

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. (‭Luke‬ ‭19‬:‭41-42‬ NIV)

Jesus, who could quote the Scriptures, recognized that in order for Jerusalem to have real peace it would have to recognize him as Messiah. He recognized that their rejection of him would bring physical destruction:

The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (‭Luke‬ ‭19‬:‭43-44‬ NIV)

So when you pray for the peace of Jerusalem you should be praying for the Jewish people to have their eyes opened so they can see the Prince of Peace who is the only one who brings the peace described in Psalm 122.

70 Years

God, Grief, Old Testament, Suffering

This is a repost from 3/18/2011:

Grief is a normal part of healthy human existence.  Without the ability to grieve we wouldn’t have the ability to love, to feel connected at a deep level to someone, something, or even an idea.  We can and should grieve the loss of a dream, the loss of our home, or the loss of a person that we love to death or relational mayhem.  It is a God designed part of our humanness.

Theology Thursday 2.7.2013

Jesus, Love

Love is the motivation (1 Corinthians 13)

Without the right motivation any sacrifice we make is useless.  Whether we give everything we own to feed the poor or give up our life because of our beliefs it does not matter unless we have love.  Love is the motivation for all works that turn out worthwhile.  Actions that aren’t motivated by love become like a Pharisee’s observance of the Law: giving a tenth of everything (including the smallest herbs from the spice garden) and still missing the heart of the matter.

Love looks a certain way though.  It isn’t just a warm-fuzzy feeling that we get about a general concept or idea.  Love is grounded in God’s self-revelation in Jesus. Jesus commanded his disciples to “love one another”.  Love is wholehearted pursuit of Jesus; devotion to sitting at His feet and obeying his every command.  Both together. If we strive to do everything we do out of a desire to be in God’s presence and to be obedient to Jesus then our actions are worthwhile.  Otherwise they’re only worth throwing in a garbage heap.  Actions not motivated by love have no gain in them for us.  And love not motivating the right actions isn’t really love at all.