All recent non-photography posts here at Earth Images, whether they be related to politics, social behavior or religion, are clustered together a ways down on this page. I leave them up in their original spot for 24 hours and then move them to that location. This post is also destined to go there after that 24 hour period.
There are many choices to make in life. Among them are where we rest our faith.
Mathew 7: 13, 14, 15
13 Enter you in at the strait (narrow like a water channel) gate (the entrance or gate, is in fact Jesus): for wide is the gate (the opposite of Jesus), and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in.
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it. (The truth isn’t necessarily found in large numbers. Those that pass through the gate will actually be few.)
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
The words below are my opinions.
I am forever grateful that I wasn’t very true to my religious upbringing. I am speaking of the main of several churches I attended in my youth. It’s not that it was a bad place, but my lack of understanding of what was, or better said what was not taught in that particular church, sent me on a quest for knowledge that was wide sweeping. It eventually profited me greatly. That journey even included atheism for a year or so, not too long after I was confirmed in that church. I think it is fair to say that I failed that church and they most certainly failed me. The only teaching I can even remember was during Sunday school and that was the usual Noah’s Ark, Jonah and the whale, David and Goliath and other events that they knew children would relish. Like almost any church that calls itself Christian, it also properly taught me that Jesus died for my sins. It seemed as though, just attending that church meant I had salvation. It was never explained. They of course told the stories about the miracles of Jesus as well as the kindness he displayed. They forgot to tell about his anger at times. They forget to teach about his outrage at the churches of his day and how they failed to teach God’s Word. They forgot to tell of him breaking the furniture inside one church. It was like all I needed to know was that Jesus died for my sins. I mean, if they mention Jesus, and there’s a Bible sitting at the edge of the pulpit, well that should be enough for me to reach salvation. Shouldn’t it? That was sarcasm.
My church failed me just as I failed my church. Among other things I failed to follow all of the manmade ceremonies they had created. God is never enough in most churches.
God created His Church, and gave it to man. Man took it and created denominations. Over 400 of them if you subdivide. They bicker, practice politics and use everything except God’s Word to make their church bigger. They further the ways of man, and forget the ways and the words of God. Except of course, for those carefully selected verses that are chosen to shore up their secular sermons. Whether that’s what the verse actually means or not.
It pays to remember that it was the most respected of all of the “religious leaders” of the day, that killed Jesus. The pagan Romans pulled the trigger, but it was religion that loaded the gun (so to speak) and pointed it, via their mock trial of injustice, and told the pagans to pull the trigger. Pontius Pilate, oversaw his execution, but even that pagan leader felt a tinge of guilt and questioned the morality of killing him, while the religious leaders sat smug and comfy with no guilt to be seen.
With that said, all churches are not the same. The church does or certainly should provide an avenue for Christian fellowship. Group prayer and group worship, when performed from the heart, have immeasurable value. There are churches today, who provide those blessings. The church is extremely important, and that is why it is worth examining.
You either accept the Bible in its entirety, or reject it altogether. You do not get to pick and choose what is applicable for you, or the times you live in. Those who choose to interpret His Word as needing updating for today’s world are putting themselves up as a god, with a little g. God and His Word are Eternal. He knew where we were heading from the beginning. Today we are at the start of the end times known as the church of Laodicea. It signals the end of the Church Age. Laodicea (many of today’s churches) is the lukewarm church. They are the epitome of political correctness. Very few there preach about sin, and even fewer preach the evils of false doctrine. The preaching of end time prophesy is almost nonexistent. They just want to go along and get along. Jesus had disgust with this church. Today’s version will teach much modern humanistic psychology, but little actual doctrine. If necessary, they will make up “religion” to satisfy its laity. In addition to lukewarm, many are false teachers.
The leader of any individual church, if they are called by God, and some are and some aren’t, are ordered to be your watchman. They are to help sort through and battle the often evil “ways of the world”, and the “ways of man”………not embrace them.
End time prophesy
Churches who will not at some point teach end time prophesy, do so because they do not believe it. By any definition, that makes them unbelievers. From Daniel’s prophesy, to the books of Mathew and Revelations, it is given its rightful position of extreme importance in God’s Word.
The story below is about the church, but it is also about a church, and I believe it to be true.
A well-known Christian Minister and his wife were checking in at a Washington D.C. hotel many years ago when a young man came up to the pastor and asked if he could step aside after he finished checking in, and talk to him for a while. The Minster checked in and found a couple of seats in the lobby where he and the young man could sit and talk. The young man was clean and well dressed. He seemed to be quite happy and had a nice essence to him. He began to speak.
He was the son of a Navy Admiral and the Godson of the current (at the time of the event) sitting President of The United States. That President would have either been Carter or Reagan. That was later confirmed by the Minister. The young man began his talk by going back six years.
He was living in D.C. and was living on the streets, in his car, or on the couches of friends. He was underweight, and lived in one pair of tattered and dirty (smelly) clothes. As you might have guessed, he was a hard-core drug addict. Heroin and a some drug such as Speed were his drugs of choice. He was starving and he did not care.
His father had tried to help him many times by sending him to a variety of clinics for addicts. In fact, as a favor to the Admiral, the President himself spoke with him on one occasion. The young man had spent the past one and a half years visiting D.C. area churches and asking if they might be able to help him. All were pleasant and each and every one of them gave him a card or a number to a clinic of one sort or another. He tried all of them over the year and a half. Not one single church ever suggested introducing him to God. Not a single Minister/Pastor/Preacher or Priest spoke of Jesus Christ and what he did for all of us, and what it could mean for him. Not one. Finally he gave up. He took what money he had left and bought all the drugs he could afford. He held a little back for gas money (no food) and headed south. He did his drugs and put in gas, and drove, and drove. He was (he found this out later) in Florida when he finally felt as though his body (and soul?) was dying, and got off the highway. He would pull over and die. He didn’t want to die, but it seemed as though it was time. He couldn’t fix this himself within his own will, or with the help of others. He spotted a cross on top of a small Church just up the street. Maybe one last time, he thought. He pulled up and there were two men working in the garden in front of the church. He got out and began falling to the ground. One man caught him and helped him to his feet. He hadn’t eaten in a week. He spoke to the man as clearly as he could under his condition, and said, I am dying. I am in my last minutes. Do you know anybody who could help me? He expected the man to say yes I can help you and hand him another card for an addiction clinic. Instead the man (still holding him up) said, “no son I can’t help you……but I know someone who can”. The man who was either the Pastor or of another position in that little church, helped him, or better said carried him inside. Before the day was over, the young man had accepted Jesus as his personal Savior, and had been filled with the Holy Ghost.
The Minister (from the beginning of the story) in D.C. was speaking with the young man six years after he was introduced to Jesus on that little side street in Florida. He was now clean, well dressed and well fed. He had a great upper middle class job. He had a wife and two small children. He lived for God and he lived for his family.
Those first churches in D.C. failed him because they did not believe what they preached, if they preached Jesus and the Cross at all. That Minister or whatever he was at that little Church in Florida, accepted, believed, preached and lived by the Word of God. He knew, you can expect miracles when you have faith in God. He is a big God and He can do big things.
If you attend a church, please don’t be offended by what I have written in this article. There are some great churches in the world who do all of the good things that others don’t, and don’t do the bad things that others do. The truth is however, that your church is then in a distinct minority in today’s world. Salvation is not to be taken lightly, especially by those who are charged with the job of showing you its path.
This section is being added to today’s article due to the news of another mass killing at a university.
None of us are perfect. Everyone reading this are sinners and so am I. I have written before, that there have been times in my life when I may have been inventing new sins. In America today, we are not supposed to comment on sin. We are told in human psychology and in our schools (same thing?) that there is no such thing as sin. We not only deny sin, we embrace it. We celebrate it. We promote it. We cannot foster the sins we choose to embrace, and then prevent the sins (using other words to describe it of course), we believe to be evil. A society that loves sin, will always be afflicted by violent sin. The more we have been told to accept sin in this society, the more often violent sin occurs. That is evidenced by recent history. We have a President who ignores the killing of millions of unborn children, the butchering of their bodies, and the selling off of their parts, who then wastes little time in playing the role of a demagogue, to make political gains over a horrific ( and yes sinful) example of the sort of violence that occurs in a country who picks and chooses which sins to chastise. There were 14 shootings on the streets of Chicago last weekend alone. The victims included one baby. I am betting the majority of those guns were illegal, and so were the shooters. This President comes to us via Chicago, why is he not commenting on that. Because he knows there are no gun laws in the world that would have stopped it. Lastly, if he actually has a “constitutionally permitted” gun law to propose, why doesn’t he propose it? It’s much easier to blame you and me. I will admit it was a good speech. It was almost as if it was written previously just waiting for this to happen again.
God Bless those souls who perished yesterday in Oregon. May swift justice come to the one who robbed those victims of their lives, Wayne