Today’s post is really just a series of thoughts.
The words I share below, are my observations, and my opinions. I have the right to them, and others have the right to their‘s, and to disagree with mine. Literally, not virtually, literally, millions of human beings have died to protect that right. The silencing of opinions we do not like, always makes us worse than the person who offered those opinions we would venture to stop. Tyranny, demagoguery and the master/slave society, were all born by silencing the words of others. Slaves, were not accorded the right to speak freely. That can never happen again.
For those who’s words are CLEARLY meant to create violence, we have collectively agreed that it falls beyond the scope of free speech. If they persist, we have criminal laws and a court system to deal with it. For those who would spread lies about others, we have libel laws and a civil court system to bring justice to those who have been wronged.
The earth, the sky and the universe, was given to man to both use and take care of. I do not worship creation, I worship the Creator. Each of you, and I, were created by God, yet I do not worship you or I, but only the Creator.
I had a great friend of mine call me the other day, and that led to a great conversation. We talked about photography, politics, the Bible, and life. Each of us only gets a few truly great friends in Life, it’s paramount that they know how much we appreciate them.
Remember this, the Bible is the Word of God, in my opinion, and is the only tangible thing that we are all given to understand our plight, and our purpose. Indeed, if it is not what it says it is, then we are all lost.
The good news is, it is what it says it is. Proper versions of the Bible, are a roadmap to life and eternity.
Religion, is not always the same as God. All Christian religions and denominations, interpret the Bible so they can share what it is all about with the laity. In many cases, some will change what they do not like, and “reinterpret” it to whatever that suits them in order to make the Bible fit their world view.
Man has altered and recreated “religion” to be everything but what the God of the Bible has taught us. One example is the Hebraic Movement. An attempt to be both and Old Testament Jew, and a New Testament Christian all rolled into one package. It does not work that way.
There are of course also great individual churches in many denominations.
Over the years, I have gone from listening or watching anyone preach a sermon, who has a Bible on a pulpit, to being very judicious in my selection. I follow pastors who’s sermons consist of teaching the Bible, and then directing those words towards our current world and lives as well as teaching about eternal life.
They are of a myriad of personalities. Quiet and studiously intellectual. Loud and spiritual. Some are more the sentinel type who warn us of dangers and false prophets. Others are laid back but get it done (preached) before they finish. All can be great if they understand and teach God’s Word. A great teacher is more important than a great preacher in my opinion, but when they can do both, it is special.
I generally do not suggest to newcomers, those that those teacher/preachers I favor, are the absolute best, because there can be a culture shock when we begin to listen to those pastors who favor God’s Word more than religious ceremony, or denominational practices.
I never reject a teacher/preacher because I am not enamored with their personality. I would have missed some of the best if I had.
Run don’t walk away from churches who do not suggest that you seek and read the Bible on your own. In the end, it will be God who is your teacher. He will handle that if you let Him.
God is supernatural, not just another human being. The Bible reports His supernatural powers. If you cannot believe in the supernatural aspects of God, you will fail on your mission. Nothing was harder for me to accept. When I did, my world changed forever.
Human history on this earth began with Adam and Eve. Our bodies are perfectly designed to last for eternity, but unfortunately when sin entered the world our bodies became plagued with problems. Our life spans in these vessels became less and less, until doctors of science, a profession created by God, began to add years to our lives. Every few decades the human body can be fixed to last a few years longer. We will never (in these bodies), ever get back to their longevity of a few hundred years again.
The Bible contains some symbolism, but the words therein are for the most part, straight up with what they say. Which Bible you use means a lot. There are several bad ones, and some complete travesties. The good news is, there are several great ones. My favorite is the King James prior to the latest printing. That said, the language is somewhat difficult. A good study version of that Bible is the best of the best. I would tell you who’s study version I think is the best, but it is best you do not follow my suit, but pray and follow where God leads you.
Be leery of religions who do not understand the importance of the Middle East, the Jews, and where we are headed. It is very important, and equally interesting. .
Many so-called Christians are anti-Semitic. Remember, Jesus was a Jew. Some of the most infamous people in human history (Hitler and more) based their anti-Semitism (killing six million or so Jews) on their Christian upbringing. Above all, the entirety of the Bible will be lost if you do not understand where the Middle East falls in Biblical history.
Reformed Jews, gentiles and anyone and everyone else, fortunately makes up today’s church.
I believe I am a gentile. My people were likely pagans who worshipped everything but God. The Apostles whom were Jews, taught the Bible and evangelized my predecessors the gentiles into the understanding of the Bible and Jesus Christ rather than golden calves, the sun, the moon, and so forth. The Apostle Paul, was charged with the task of leading the way into creating Christians out of pagan gentiles. The Apostles of course spent much time and energy evangelizing the Jews as well. If you die a religious Jew (not an ethnic one), you will not be going to Heaven.
The old Testament is the history of the beginning of the human race. It is important. It teaches us old Jewish Law because that is what was used to foretell what was to come. We no longer live under that law. The law was given to prove to us, that we cannot keep it. Only Jesus did. We cannot work our way to heaven. Religious ceremonies can be wonderful, mood provoking, and Godly, but in and of themselves but they do not provide a path to Heaven.
That is course is where Jesus comes in. He took your beating and mine, for us. We need to understand and embrace that. Neither you nor I or anybody else, can “earn” our way to Heaven. Our sins will be washed away only by the Blood of Jesus, if we recognize it, and confess our sins to God Almightily, and nothing else. No deed, no matter how good or Godly, will suffice. He is the one and only path to Heaven.
No amount of religion can accomplish that.
To be a born again Christian, is to be in-filled with The Holy Spirit who lives in us, as we live inside of Christ. We wear the cloak of Christ.
I firmly believe, that it was the Holy Spirit that urged me to go on a mission to find the truth. I personally believe, that every human being is prompted by The Spirit at some (or many) points along the way. I still have much to learn, but the education will go on as long as I breath.
Remember, our pastors and other teachers, need to defeat the sin nature just as we do. They are not God, or more Holy than we are, although some truly do God’s Work.
Sometimes the best Bible teachers, are among the most unlikely among us.
Search, and then pray, pray, pray. Develop a personal relationship with God. Seeking God, only through intermediaries will not develop a personal relationship. I feel comfortable taking it unto myself to state that He wants you in His world. My personal prayers, contain my desires for a better world, help for others, very definitely my personal needs and wishes, and I also ask forgiveness of my sins. I do so every day (often several times), because I am still burdened with a “sin nature” as are each of us. Adam and Eve gave us that, just as the Lord knew they would. Still, it is our responsibility.
If it helps you with prayer remember, Jesus taught His disciples, and therefore us, to pray to the Father in the name of the Son. It does not have to be that way, but it is nice to know that the format came from God.
Don’t trust in me if you wish, that’s understandable, but be careful of your choices. Sometimes the truth comes from those who seem unlikely. Throughout the Bible, God often chose unlikely people to use as positive examples. Thieves, prostitutes and more. There was in fact, more to be learned from the thief on a cross, who hung next to Jesus, than from many religious peoples of that day and presumable now. That thief is in Heaven today, because he accepted Christ’s Sacrifice and Blessing.
God loves all His children. Still, we can only be in the presence of God, when we have been “scrubbed clean” of our sins. The only “cleanser” that will work, is the Blood of Jesus.
Please remember this, God gave us His Word, put on scrolls by men, and He gave us “the church”. Man gave us religion. Choose God over man.
For me personally, I have lived much of my life rather sloppily, and decadently. I always planned ahead for a day, a week, a month, and even for a year. Never for eternity. I am a very blessed person. I am more fortunate than I am capable of deserving. Thanks to the Holy Spirit of God, I discovered the truth early enough, not to make me perfect (hardly), but to understand my place in eternity. I am overjoyed for that.
Like any human, I can at times be hamstrung by a sinful attitude called ego. I do my best to write articles like the one above with an absence of ego. If I did not, it would dismantle and shame my entire purpose for writing it.
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
2 Because through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit who gives life, has set you free from the law of sin and death.
p.s. I continue to avoid writing about Kabul in Afghanistan, but here is a few words. This is sickening and primarily avoidable. My hearts go out to people who are stranded there, and/or have loved ones left behind.
It seems as though we will have a Kamala Harris administration soon. I am sad to say, that brings me little peace.
May the Lord Bless all of the innocent people in Afghanistan.