Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
The voice of Christ frees us from bondage to rules. Focusing on the immediate, direct teaching of our Shepherd simplifies our task, because all we need to do is wait for guidance. With God’s voice comes the power to obey, something a focus on rules, even the right rules, can never provide.
However, reading Scripture, especially the New Testament, can tempt us into focusing on Jesus’s precepts for living. This in turn siphons our…Continue
Added by Rebecca Hein on 8thMo. 5, 2021 at 15:30 — No Comments
We all need a refuge from stress and severe distraction; a retreat where we can withdraw for a time from life’s problems, so that when we return, they feel more manageable. This is God’s intent for the Sabbath.
Rest, in the Old Covenant, meant a special day when people were supposed to pause in their outward work. But how do we pause in our duel with the stresses of daily life?
The visitation of God, directly to the soul, in the person of Jesus Christ, is our…Continue
The early Quaker experience shows that unity is possible among those who are listening to Christ. George Fox, founder of the Quaker movement in seventeenth century England, saw that God speaks to all with one voice, and therefore does not contradict himself.
When differing points of view on important matters emerged in a Quaker meeting, all present waited for God to show them who was right. Sometimes the task fell to one person to turn the whole group in the right direction,…Continue
Added by Rebecca Hein on 10thMo. 27, 2018 at 18:01 — No Comments
Almost all Christians incorporate the reciting of the Lord’s Prayer into their worship services. After all, Jesus said, “This is how you should pray,” before speaking the words every believer knows so well. (Matt. 6: 9-13 NIV)
However, the preceding passage in Matthew illustrates the reason the Lord’s Prayer is necessary: “[W]hen you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” (Matt. 6:7) This admonition goes to…Continue
There’s more to the New Testament story of the rich young man than the passage in Matthew 19:16-26 records. This additional information, when I recently learned it, explained many things to me and deepened my understanding of the episode.
In brief the story is: A rich young man asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. After Jesus establishes that the young man has kept all the commandments, the man further inquires, “What do I still lack?”
Church is supposed to be the place where Christians gather to learn from God and to draw closer to Him. However, too often church actually buffers the believer’s possible encounter with God.
The crux of really knowing God is listening to Him. Therefore, it’s easy to see how a certain component of a church service is not listening: hymn-singing and group prayers, for example. However, when the sermon is given, the congregation listens. All present assume that the minister is…Continue
Added by Rebecca Hein on 1stMo. 8, 2018 at 16:17 — No Comments
Many people who have not chosen God still feel they have chosen to be good. They assume it’s possible to achieve goodness without listening to God, and this clearly implies that they feel they have not chosen evil. This is a plausible view, because only a tiny percentage of atheists and agnostics are pursuing an obviously wicked agenda. Most have good intentions. They want to do right. This profile can also fit many religious people, as we shall see.…Continue
If you work full time, and also have family obligations, it may be difficult to find even an hour a week in which to sit down, be quiet, and listen to God. He wants all our attention, and for us to listen with our whole hearts and beings. How does this accord with a busy life in which we fulfill our responsibilities to ourselves and others?
God looks at our hearts and our intentions. There is a potential distraction more severe than daily life: our divided loyalty. If we…Continue
Added by Rebecca Hein on 6thMo. 19, 2017 at 14:15 — No Comments
All Christians affirm that they must listen to God. About 35 years ago, early in my own journey, I soon discovered that “listening to God” did not mean the same thing to every Christian I met. This plethora of assumptions—and the many different doctrines it produced—confused me until I felt there was no escape. All I could do was hang on, read the Bible, pray, go to church and hope that someday I would be liberated from the burden of this confusion.
I recall certain…Continue
When Jesus walked the earth in the flesh, those who recognized him as the Messiah must have been seized by the conviction, "EVERYTHING this man says and does is important." Therefore, they wanted to record it all for future generations, and did their best.
However, earthly life dictates that a certain percentage of our actions and words are mundane and everyday, tied to the necessary tasks of living, such as eating, working, or repairing and maintaining machinery. In living on…Continue
Added by Rebecca Hein on 12thMo. 7, 2016 at 16:11 — No Comments
Added by Rebecca Hein on 8thMo. 17, 2016 at 13:17 — No Comments
Once, in describing my upcoming wedding to a friend, I mentioned that it was a Quaker Meeting for Worship in which all would sit silent, waiting on the Lord. When she found out that no human being would be leading the meeting, she was puzzled.
"Who pronounces you man and wife?"
"Jesus," I replied.
"Yes, but whose voice does he use?"
In that brief exchange, I glimpsed a fundamental difference in our viewpoints that I'm still trying to understand after…
Every serious Christian should read Lewis Benson's A Universal Christian Faith (formerly Catholic Quakerism) because it solves the problem of "I know what God requires but I don't have the power to carry it out." Who has not felt the tension between what the Bible spells out as Christian behavior and one's own moral impotence?
This inability to do right is the human condition apart from the direct guidance of God. And, though many Christians believe they get this…
Added by Rebecca Hein on 1stMo. 8, 2016 at 14:57 — No Comments
When Lewis Benson was invited to the UK to speak about the Christian message of the Early Friends in 1974, he reported that after much prayer about whether to accept the invitation, he was shown that if he stayed close to the message of George Fox, and to his own experience, "no harm would be done."
It certainly rings true that something as important as the ministry of Jesus Christ should not be lightly or hastily undertaken. This is in direct contrast with the prevalent attitude…
Added by Rebecca Hein on 10thMo. 19, 2015 at 14:57 — No Comments
The call to obey God is a call to action. It's not enough just to commit our lives to Jesus and decide to follow him. It's not enough to read the Bible, reserve a regular time for prayer, and have fellowship with other Christians. It's possible to do all these things and still not approach what God actually wants from us.
How do I know this? Because of how God has dealt with me. In 1985, during a Quaker Meeting for Worship in the Name of Jesus—silent, waiting worship—I received a…
“God's guidance is sure and perfect, but our discernment can always fail.” This is often the argument put forward to counter claims that we can know and do the will of God in this life.
But if we focus on human weakness rather than on the power of God, we might not notice how God intervenes to correct us when we are going wrong and don't realize it.
Recently I experienced such an intervention. A minor episode in my work had been claiming part of my attention because it had…
When we think of God's speaking to us, we often assume we will receive clear instructions, if not in words heard inwardly, then in a strong sense of what we should do. This certainly happens, yet there is another way God speaks to us and guides us: by power received according to the extent of our obedience.
For example, years ago I was complaining to my husband that I couldn't control my bad moods. Thus, I lost patience and temper with our two young children and always felt guilty…
Added by Rebecca Hein on 5thMo. 28, 2014 at 2:00 — No Comments
"How do I know which voice to listen to?" is one of the most often-repeated questions when the Quaker practice of listening to Jesus Christ is discussed. "There are so many competing voices, both within and outside, that often it seems impossible to tell when God is speaking."
Yet Lewis Benson has written of a voice that speaks to men and women with "absolute authority, in which they cannot disbelieve, and which evokes a response of humble unconditional obedience." [George Fox's…
Added by Rebecca Hein on 5thMo. 3, 2014 at 12:08 — No Comments
Of all the Early Quaker tenets, the doctrine of moral perfection is perhaps the most misunderstood. When confronted with the idea that we can expect complete deliverance from sin in this life, we too often think, Oh no, God expects me never to make mistakes--how can I possibly achieve that? or Now He truly expects the impossible: how can I keep from losing my temper and screaming at my spouse and children in moments of extreme stress? or I can't stop coveting my neighbor's wife…Continue
The focus of the Early Friends was on listening to God. This is why they held silent meetings. They knew that human activity, such as a programmed worship service, was not likely to be in response to a direct leading, received within after much waiting and prayer.…Continue
Added by Rebecca Hein on 1stMo. 5, 2014 at 22:54 — No Comments