Religion Was Not Always A Repulsive Word

Those of us who side with “Grace” over “Religion” are often taught that “Religion” is inherently bad.  I think the reason I decided to look upon the terms “Religion and Religious” as the enemy of Grace is because the majority of biblical writers use those terms in a negative manner.  It is often used to describe an establishment of judgment and a feeling of oppression.

It wasn’t until recently my view towards the term “Religion” and “Religious” changed.  It happened as I was reading a book called “God Hates Religion.” This book led me to these words in Apostle James’ book:

Pure, unstained religion, according to God our Father, is to take care of orphans and widows when they suffer and to remain uncorrupted by this world.” James 1:27 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

This scripture allowed me to see “religion” was once pure and unstained.

This scripture allowed me to see “religion” was always about helping the suffering.  And nothing to do with oppression or judgment.

This scripture allowed me to see that “religion’s” purest intent was to help us remember: “We are in this world but, not of this world.”

In my opinion the term “Religion” did not begin as the dirty word it is today.  Just like the term “Christian” did not begin as the repulsive word, to many, as it is today.

From now on I choose to view religion in its true form.  To me, religion, in the truest form is the means by which “God’s Grace” is dispensed by His people.

I know it would be futile to try and convince the “religious” to see religion this way.  However, I am glad God saw fit to show me, through scripture, what unblemished religion looks like.

When you think of the term “Religion” what thoughts or feelings do you have?

Peace to all

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It’s Ok To Fight!

I have to admit, sometimes I let the world beat me down so bad I forget which way is up.  I am sure this has never happened to you.  But, just when I seem to be cruising along so well the light goes out.  Or at least that is what is seems like.  It would be nice to wake up one morning and be spared from the arena.  Or would it?  The “truth” the “Word of God” when I read it, teaches me that faith cannot exist with out a fight.  At least not in this world; the world I currently live in.

I wonder if this is the fight Paul was talking about in his letter to Timothy when he said, “Fight the good fight of faith.” (1 Timothy 6:12)

In my experience, a fight albeit physical or mental requires things like effort, discipline, and belief in order to win. So often I forget that faith in Christ is a fight and it too requires effort and discipline. But even more:  The “Good Fight of Faith” calls for belief when I don’t feel like believing.

So often, Paul’s words to Timothy remind me; the “Christ Walk” is not a “Cake Walk.”  It also reminds me the world and I will always be at odds.

Men, Christian Men, if you think the odds are not stacked against you then you have made faith something that it is not.  It impossible to have faith without an opponent to that faith.

We would all do well not to forget John’s words about the worldly lion.  The one that prowls around seeking to kill and destroy the heart of the Christian.

How do we continue to fight the good fight?  How do we keep the worldly lion at bay?

We, as Christians, focus on the last part of (1 Timothy 6:12):  “Keep holding on to eternal life, to which you were called and about which you gave a good testimony in front of many witnesses”

Fighting the “Good Fight of Faith” isn’t really about what we let go of; it’s about what we hold on too.

Keep fighting. You are all warriors in the faith.

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Thought From a Chronic Isolater

There are two sides to me; depressant and anti-depressant.

The depressant side manifests itself through isolation. Isolation is attractive because it seems so protective, and so secure. But, it only feeds my depressive state. The only thing that proves isolation safety to be a lie is being aware that I am an isolater.

Isolation can be so deceptive. Why? Because it does not require physical absence. I wished I could offer some words of wisdom on how to defeat the depressant side but, I can not.

However, I hold on to this truth. The valley in the center of a wave resides between two peaks. Therefore, I only have to look up to find my anti-depressant. Seratonin be damned! Guess, I better get climbing.

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Listen Up

Busyness can be devastating to our God Loving Heart.

Quote by Don Cousins:
“God won’t compete for your attention, nor will He shout to get it. He’s calling you to a relationship with Himself, a relationship based on communication—talking and listening. He wants to help guide you in all of life, but He can’t if you don’t stop to listen for direction.”
Prayer is an amazing thing, however, I often leave out the listening part.  I wonder if they make cochlear implants for spiritual ears?  I recently realized, it is not fair to accuse God of not answering prayer when I forget that listening for his voice is the main purpose of prayer.
The sad part is, sometimes I purposely choose not to listen.  Why?  Because, I fear God may ask me to loose something I am not ready to let go of. 

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God and Sugar

This morning I actually have evidence that I am crazy. What is the evidence? Well, it seems all I can think about is “God and sugar.” I know, I know, crazy right? The other day I told someone “isn’t it funny how many times companies have tried to make a substitute for sugar.” First, there was “Saccharin (Sweet-n-Low). Then along came “Aspartame (Nutra Sweet). Next there was Splenda, and now Stevia. So, why the vigorous manhunt for a sugar substitute. Some say it is because sugar is bad for you. Some say it is because sugar is so expensive. I say, “It is because of guilt.” We, myself included, want to discover a way in which we can consume super sweet pleasurable substances without having to face the consequences. I know this, because removing common sense consequences that come from over eating sugar is a multi-billion dollar industry. So, the search is on and has been on for many years, however, like Bono (lead singer for the band U2) said, “we still haven’t found what we’re looking for.”

To me the problem is not really, sugar. The problem stems from sugar’s sweetness. We (humans) enjoy sugar, immensely. Sugar’s overwhelming sweetness produces desire, and desire drives pleasure. The real issue is Man’s drive for sugar’s sweet pleasure. In all actuality sugar did not become bad for us, until we tried to synthesize and concentrate it to provide us (humans) with a higher level of sweetness.

The real issue here is not really about sugar, it’s about truth. Sugar, at its original source, equals truth. Natural Sugar was created, it is not manipulated by man. Where does natural sugar come from? It comes from created life. True sugar comes from miraculously created fruit and milk. Milk, straight from the cow and fruit straight off the tree. Actually, sugar in its true from is something we (as miraculously created beings) need. What has been said about True (natural) sugar? Doctors from Cancer Treatment Centers across America say, “Natural sugars are found in fruit as fructose and in dairy products, such as milk and cheese, as lactose. Foods with natural sugar have an important role in the diet of cancer patients and anyone trying to prevent cancer because they provide essential nutrients that keep the body healthy and help prevent disease.”

Again, the problem isn’t with True sugar, it is with us (humans). Since the Garden of Eden we (humans) have been trying to manipulate God’s creation to assuage our guilt. As long as we are on this earth we will never be able to visit the Garden of Eden. However, we can make better choices.

Have you ever tasted anything that compares to the sweetness and satisfaction of true sugar? Me, neither. The truth is, no matter how much we manipulate the truth, and no matter how many sugar substitutes we develop, we never will.

You choose; locust and honey or stevia and locust!

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A Road Map To Lasting Contentment

Can you honestly say you are “content” both, inside and out?

What is “Contentment”?

Where do we find contentment?

Should fleeting environmental circumstances affect our contentment?

Should we rely on personal pleasures or perishable possessions to fuel our contentment?

Apostle Paul seems to share the answers to these questions in Chapter 4 of his letter to the congregation at Philippi.

The secret to un-wavering contentment can be found in Paul’s statement:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

The key word in this scripture is: ALWAYS. Here the word always is used to mean “completely and infinitely rely upon” the LORD (Jesus).

Just as we all made the decision to have faith in and believe upon our Lord (Jesus), we must also remember to rejoice (or find our Joy) in Him at all times. No matter the environmental or emotional circumstances that happen often and inconveniently in this earthly life.

Rejoicing (to have joy or be joyful) is not a right nor a privilege; it is a choice. I think my personal relationship with Christ is what allows me to be joyful in all circumstances; pain, and suffering included.

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The Desire to Fix Human Beings

I remember when I used to pray, “God, fix this person or that person.” Thank God, I no longer do this. Why? Well, I have come to understand that this prayer is a waste of time. In most cases, when I prayed this prayer it was me who needed “fixin” not the other person. Oh how I became a master at projecting my expectations on others.

I’ve learned that humanity minus all the trappings of material possessions and personal wealth, is equal. We arrive in this world because of the miracle of birth, we are granted the privilege to live past birth by God and we all will one day pass form this life into the next. See, basic equality; nothing to do with political preference, race, color, creed, or religion.

What makes one human being believe they can fix another?

For a person, equal to the other to assume they can fix another is sanctimonious. True, we can use our faith, knowledge, wealth, and possessions to assist others. We can provide grace, love, security, and comfort to others. However, we must never forget, our purpose or mission in this life does not provide the means or authority to fix another human being.

Go ahead, walk with others, talk with others, and hangout with others. Just do not try to fix others. If you do, the best you will get is superficiality.

I wonder what would happen if we stopped focusing on fixing others? What if we used what God gave us to provide and environment of grace, love, security, and comfort; you know, the place where “true love” comes from? The choice to change will always be in the heart of the “Fixee” not the “Fixer.”

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